EU Enlargement A 'Political Masterpiece'

By Agence France-Presse The enlargement of the European Union, which embraced 10 new members May 1, is a "political masterpiece," said European Commission head Romano Prodi. "To me, the enlargement is the Union's political masterpiece. From Tallinn to La Valetta, our new citizens know how to build a market economy and an open and democratic society," said Prodi. "Even though this marks the simultaneous entry of the most number of states in our history, this is only a step in the process which will involve other countries in the future." Highlighting the "potential for increased growth in the future" for the 10 new members, Prodi said enlargement will help the economies of the new member states grow by an extra two percentage points annually. He said the gross domestic product in the 10 newcomers was already growing at an average of more than twice that of the current members. The 10 new members are Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. The 25 member EU has a population of 450 million. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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