Monday marks the first anniversary of the accession of many ex-communist states and some of Europe’s smallest countries to the European Union.Brussels has been boasting about what has not happened since the club of 15 welcomed in new 10 members. A statement said: “None of the predicted disaster scenarios have happened- not the unprecedented surges of cheap imports, the mass migration flows, or the health scares from sub-standard food.” European Commission President Durao Barroso has also been praising progress since enlargement. On Friday he said: “ This adhesion realised the dream of living in a better world. I want to underline the fact that the dynamic of change in the countries that joined the EU has been phenomenal. We’ve seen that changes can be effected in a very short time- the market economy, democratic institutions that meet European norms, and adopting community rules.” Yesterday newcomers Latvia, Cyprus and Malta took a major step towards joining the euro zone in two to three years, by entering the Exchange Rate Mechanism. The move had long been expected but economists see in it a sign EU integration is moving ahead despite growing market concern about the bloc’s ability to organise itself. The four largest new EU members, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, plan to adopt the single currency in 2009-2010.
EU enlargement anniversary feted by Brussels