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Press Release
Jean-Claude Juncker: "Let’s welcome the Bulgarian and Romanian peoples into our big family"

Date of release : 25-04-2005

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Event : Signing of the Accession Treaty of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union - 25 April 2005

On 25 April 2005, during a solemn ceremony, the Member States of the European Union signed the Accession Treaty with Bulgaria and Romania.

Representatives of the Member States signed the Accession Treaty of the two countries to the EU in the presence of Grand-Duke Henri and Grand-Duchess Maria Teresa, the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Georgi Parvanov, and the President of the Republic of Romania, Traian Basescu.

The ceremony, jointly organized by the Luxembourg Presidency, Bulgaria, and Romania, was held at the Neumünster Abbey in Luxembourg. Following introductory speeches by Jean-Claude Juncker, Josep Borell and José Manuel Barroso, representatives of the Member States signed the treaty in alphabetical order.

In his address, Jean-Claude Juncker paid tribute "to Bulgarians and Romanians, especially to the humblest among them, for having taken on the burden of all these changes, the long procession of which must have seemed interminable to them. We have been continuously impressed by their courage and their will, and we will be impressed further as they implement those reforms that have yet to be carried out. Since the early 1990s, and even more today, we are marching together towards greater freedom, greater democracy, greater well-being, and greater joy of life. No longer do we have the dangerous clashes of the past, no longer do we fear the other, no longer do the guns of some threaten the others, no longer are consciences imprisoned because they were imprisoned in Bulgaria and Romania", declared Jean-Claude Juncker. "Now, along with Bulgaria and Romania, for Bulgaria and Romania, for Europe, everything that is noble and dignified, everything that elevates humankind has at last become possible across all of Europe. So, from the bottom of our hearts, let’s welcome the Bulgarian and Romanian people, these courageous people, these noble people into our big family…," continued Jean-Claude Juncker.

The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, also underlined the reform efforts that Bulgaria and Romania have made: "You have waited for this day with hope and your expectations are high. And rightly so: accession to the European Union is the outcome of many long years of relentless work. You have undertaken reforms that have often proven difficult and demanding in order to construct a modern society." Yet, he assured these two States that the European Commission would never stop providing aid, support, and expertise.

"Accession to the Union entails rights and obligations. We must make sure that they are respected and that commitments are adhered to by both sides," stated Josep Borell, President of the European Parliament. "We must work together to defend and strengthen the values and principles on which our European Union is founded," he added. "Last May’s meetings will only be completed once you have joined the Union," he concluded.

For Romanian President, Traian Basescu, "the European Union’s process of expanding into Central and Eastern Europe represents a historic opportunity that erases artificial dividing lines, consolidates and broadens prosperity and peace on our continent, and better prepares us for the future. This opportunity was not missed and, following the memorable 1 May 2004, we find ourselves here today, our own turn to express our common desire to be joined ‘for better or for worse’ as part of the European family, now grown to 27. For us, accession to the European Union represents the dream of half a century come true: the dream of lifting all the barriers and sharing Western European values, prosperity and security. There can be no doubt that accession to the European Union represents one of the greatest moments in Romania's long European history. Signing the Accession Treaty opens wide the door to this prospect," the Romanian President added. "Our goal is not simply to become a new member of the European Union. We are prepared to play an important role in founding our common future, to play it enthusiastically and according to adopted standards," concluded Traian Basescu.

Siméon de Saxe-Cobourg, Bulgaria’s Prime Minister also looked to the future by dedicating "the signing of this treaty to Bulgaria’s youth. It is Bulgaria’s youth who must carry on European integration, develop the ideals for reunification, and contribute to the success of Europe’s unity, peace and development in the 21st century." He highlighted the new challenges awaiting Bulgaria. "Today’s date is important because of the new responsibility that the Republic of Bulgaria must assume by taking part in the decision-making process within the European Union. I can assure you that we are actively preparing to become a constructive partner."

To celebrate this historic event, Grand-Duke Henri and Grand-Duchess Maria Teresa held a dinner for all of the signatories.

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This page was last modified on : 26-04-2005

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