Eight CEE Countries Accede to the European Union
Saturday, May 1, 2004 8:00 AM

On May 1, 2004, the European Union was enlarged by the accession of ten new Member States: Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia from Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Malta and Cyprus. Specifically, this date marks the entry into force of the EU Accession Treaty, which was previously approved by the European Council and Parliament, ratified by the existing Member States and the Candidate States (the latter through  national referendums). The official enlargement ceremony was held in Dublin, Ireland, where the new Member States were welcomed by European Commission President Roman Prodi, European Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen and European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection David Byrne.

Prior to joining the European Union, each Candidate State was obligated to fulfill the Copenhagen Criteria, a set of economic and social requirements, and to adhere to the acquis communautaire, the collective policies and rules of the EU.

The European Union Enlargement website contains information on the accession negotiations and a profile of each new Member State.