Fifty years in one day

View of Charles Bridge and the Prague Castle (picture Estec sarl)
By Richard Laming

Published in EUobserver, 3 May 2004

It is hard to overstate the significance of the recent enlargement of the European Union. At the stroke of a pen, seventy million Europeans suddenly gained new rights.

Czechs, Poles, Lithuanians and others now have access to the world’s largest single market;they can vote for the people who take the decisions governing that market; they can petition the court that supervises the people who take the decisions. These are rights that they did not have last week. They have them now.

This is a portfolio of rights that took western Europeans took fifty years or more to develop. Overcoming the resistance of national vested interests to establishing effective European cooperation was not easy and is still not complete. Decades of debate and argument have been needed to get this far. Citizens of the ten new member states have gained the fruits of fifty years’ development in one day.

Read the whole article at 040503euobserver

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Read a similar article published in The Prague Post at 040513praguepost

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