Special: 10th Anniversary Of Eastern Eu Enlargemen
series: European Journal
air date: 1/07/14 5:00 AM
Europe: Welcome to the club - With the accession of ten new member states in 2004, the European Union overcame the division of Europe. Countries that belonged to the Soviet sphere of influence were now part of the EU. For them the Cold War was finally over. European Journal takes a look back at the dramatic years of eastern enlargement and talks to Gunter Verheugen, who was European Commissioner for Enlargement at the time. He says eastern enlargement is a success story, and that the EU should admit more countries. Cyprus: Everyday division - Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, but there's a far older anniversary for the island next year. It will have been 40 years since it was split into Greek and Turkish territories. The accession of the Greek part to the EU was supposed to help overcome problems stemming from the division. The division of Cyprus remains an unresolved headache for the EU. The wall through the divided capital Nicosia has become more permeable in recent years, but the prospect of a reunited island is unlikely in the foreseeable future. Cypriots appear to have come to terms with separation. The UN is monitoring a fragile peace on the periphery of Europe. Latvia: The euro is coming - On the tenth anniversary of its accession to the EU, Latvia will be introducing the euro. That will further strengthen the country's ties to Europe - but not everyone in Latvia is in favor of that. Many in Latvia fear the introduction of the euro will cause prices to go up, as already happened in Estonia. In the city of Karosta, which once served as a base for the Soviet Baltic fleet, the largely Russian-speaking population is wary of closer ties to the west. But Latvians who have business ties to the EU are eager to welcome the new currency. Serbia: Traditionalists versus pro-West advocates - The EU aims to start accession talks with Serbia in 2014, although a continuation of the process of reconciliation in the region remains a precondition. Reconciliation remains a thorny issue in Serbia, with militant nationalists opposing those with more pro-western views. There's still no assurance that Serbia will continue its progress toward Brussels and normalize relations with its former province, Kosovo. Poland/Ukraine: The end of eastern enlargement? - The Kiev government's decision to put the brakes on its westward turn has led to consternation in the EU. Poland, especially, had hoped that its neighbor would retain close ties to Europe. Ten years after its own EU accession, Poland has attained a special status in East-Central Europe. The border area between Ukraine and Poland shows why this is the case - trade is booming, as is local border traffic. And there's a large Polish-speaking minority in western Ukraine.
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