Schulz praises EU enlargement on 10th anniversary
European Parliament President Martin Schulz made the following statement on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the European Union's eastern enlargement.
"Enlargement of the European Union ten years ago was a historic event that moved Europe towards a final reunification and reconciliation after the end of the Cold War. It crowned the transition of many central and eastern European countries from communist rule and the command economy to democracy and the free market. It expanded the zone of stability, security, freedom and prosperity on our continent.
Recent events in Ukraine have shown how ordinary people strive to share those values.
Enlargement is one of the EU's most successful policies. Prospects of EU membership encourage candidate countries to build transparent and predictable political and economic systems to ensure the rule of law and eradicate corruption. New members have received huge EU funds to build roads, clean up the environment and create jobs.
We have built the world's biggest internal market and trading bloc. When celebrating EU enlargement, we should remember that only together we are strong and can rival other regions of the globalised world.
The enlargement anniversary is a forceful reminder of the value of unity and cooperation at a time when many populists, demagogues and xenophobes are trying to undermine the faith in our European project."