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Brussels, 30 April 2014
Statement by President Barroso on the 10th anniversary of the reunification of Europe
"The 1st of May, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the reunification of Europe. This is a moment to remember how important the accession of these 10 member states has been, not only for them but for us in Europe, because we were able to share stability and security and also contributed to prosperity in our era. This enlargement reunited Europe after many years of artificial division. It was also a way to anchor democracy, freedom and the rule of law for many millions of people who were living before behind the Iron Curtain. Joining the European Union was also a way of joining democracies, a symbol of hope and a better future for millions of people. I think we can say we have lived up to that promise.
The reality is that ten years on, Europe is stronger, richer and safer – politically, economically and culturally. Enlargement has made the EU the world's biggest single market. Increased trade between member states brings new jobs, new investment, more growth. Enlargement has also further strengthened Europe's weight in the world. As a Union of now more than 500 million citizens, we make our voice heard across the globe.
And now that we are recovering from the recent economic crisis, it is also good to remind ourselves of these successes enlargement brings. It shows that a more united and open Europe is the best way to strengthen our position, defend our common interests and promote our common values. United, we count much more in the world; united we are in a better position, not only to defend our interests but to promote our values."
Watch the video message of President Barroso: http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I088920&sitelang=en