Press Release


Five years of reunited Europe: EPP-ED Group celebrates this historic event


Presentation of the book 'Five Years of European Union Reunification'<BR>
r-l: Hans-Gert Poettering MEP (EPP-ED, Germany), President of the European Parliament, Joseph Daul MEP (France), Chairman of the EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament, José Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission, and József Szájer MEP (Hungary), Vice-Chairman of the EPP-ED Group
On 1 May 2004, ten countries, of which 8 were Central and Eastern European countries formerly occupied by the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries, joined the European Union; and 2 years later, Bulgaria and Romania also became members of the European Union.

Europe's largest political family marked the anniversary of this historic event at the European Parliament in Strasbourg with addresses from Joseph Daul MEP, Chairman of the EPP-ED Group, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament, and József Szájer MEP, Chairman of the EPP-ED Group.

In his welcoming address to the Members and guests, Joseph Daul said: "We have come a long way from red banners and Marxist slogans. EU enlargement in 2004 closed the black chapter of European history, and we have reunited today to celebrate this event, which was a defining moment in the reunification of our continent. Europe is conscious about its past, proud of its values and ready to respond to the numerous challenges in the world, which needs its influence, stability and a spirit of tolerance."

José Manuel Barroso also welcomed the EU enlargement that peacefully reunified Eastern and Western Europe. "EU enlargement was a success. This historic event has brought Europe to a better institutional, political and economic level. It has served as an anchor of stability and democracy and a driver of personal freedom and economic dynamism in Europe. It has brought about peaceful democratic change and extended the area of freedom and prosperity to almost 500 million people."

Hans-Gert Pöttering, who was the EPP-ED Group's Chairman at the time of the first enlargement in 2004, spoke of the richness of Europe and of how the European Union provides the framework for the flourishing of each Member State in its own special way. He said: "The system of totalitarianism which traumatised Europe in the past must never happen again. The dignity of the human being stands as the basis of our continent and we are all firmly united in a common civilisation of freedom, respect for the rule of law and democracy and by solidarity and subsidiarity".

Mr Pöttering also praised the leading role the EPP-ED Group played in the reunification of Europe: "The EPP-ED Group recognised the overwhelming developments and the clear political message for change across Central Europe and decided to support and become the pioneering political force bringing Europe back together to its common heritage."

József Szájer MEP concluded: "My hometown Sopron, a little town in Hungary, was divided by the Iron Curtain. This is a great moment for me to greet you on the occasion of 5 years of reunification of Europe. The reunification means a family coming back together. Our work has an effect for the good of the lives of European citizens. Therefore let's make this reunification real and unchangeable, governed by the principles of freedom and solidarity.".

Photos available

For further information:
Robert Fitzhenry, Head of the EPP-ED Press Service, Tel: +32-475-493356

Notes to Editors:
The EPP-ED Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 288 Members from all 27 Member States.