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Speech made by the Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker upon the signature of the accession treaty by Bulgaria and Romania for joining the European Union

Date of Speech : 25-04-2005

Place : Luxembourg, Neumünster Abbey

Speaker : Jean-Claude Juncker

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

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

Your Royal Highnesses,


Prime Ministers,



Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,

On behalf of my government and the European Union, I would like to extend a warm welcome to you here in Luxembourg. My welcome comes from the heart, because today I am extremely happy.

The accession negotiations with Bulgaria and Romania have had their ups and downs. It has been a difficult process – technically complicated and politically stressful. But that is always to be expected. We were well aware of this when we decided to go down this path in December 1997, right here in Luxembourg, under the previous Luxembourg EU Presidency.

And today, in Luxembourg once again, we are signing the accession treaties enabling Bulgaria and Romania to become members of the European Union in January 2007. There is still a great deal to accomplish between now and then if we are to meet the full contents of the requirements imposed by the schedule.

I hope you will sign this treaty with great joy – a joy we share in seeing all that has been done and in seeing all the new prospects ahead of us. On their road to accession, Bulgaria and Romania have had to reshape their economic and social systems in a very short period of time in order to align them with European standards.

In our countries, some of which have been European Union members for decades now, we can scarcely grasp the extraordinary achievement of this multifaceted, sound adjustment. It is therefore speaking from the heart that I pay tribute to Bulgarian and Romanian peoples, above all to those of them who have proved so modest about their achievements, for having taken on the burden of such a transformation during what must have seemed an endless process. Their courage and their willingness have never ceased to impress us all. They will impress us even further by implementing the remaining reforms, and in particular legal reforms.

A history without truth is like a day without light. The truth is that Bulgaria and Romania, like other Central and Eastern European countries, have not had the same freedom of self-determination as we have – as we have been able to do – assert their sovereignty, their convictions and their dreams. This dreadful outcome of post-war history, which split Europe in two and tried to separate the halves of Europe for all time, was harshly applied in these two great nations of Bulgaria and Romania.

Today, we put this dreadful outcome to rest. Today, we celebrate the reconciliation of European history and geography.

Since the beginning of the 1990s and still today, we are moving towards greater freedom, greater democracy, greater well-being and greater happiness in living together.

An end to the conflicts of times past. An end to the fear of the unknown. An end to the weapons of one country threatening the lives of another. An end to imprisoned consciousness, as they were imprisoned before in Bulgaria and Romania. An end to the broken and trampled dreams, as they were broken and trampled upon so often in Bulgaria and Romania.

Yes, we are moving forward, but nothing is easy on this complex continent of Europe. Nothing is ever easy, but now with Bulgaria and Romania, for Bulgaria and Romania, for Europe, all that is good, all that is worthy, all that advances Man is possible in the end – it is possible all across Europe.

And so, from the bottom of our hearts, we welcome the Bulgarian and Romanian people – these courageous and good people – into our great family. Let us welcome them, sixty years after the end of the Second World War, making our continent, so often tormented and shattered, an beacon for peace throughout the world.

Together, we have the courage and the determination that go hand in hand with such great ambitions and such great distances.

Thank you.

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This page was last modified on : 27-04-2005

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