Ten Years EU Enlargement - Achievements and Next Steps
Vienna, 25 April 2014 – A high-level panel discussion reviewing a decade of EU enlargement was held at Palais Niederösterreich in the framework of the conference "Ten years after the 2004 EU enlargement" on the evening of 24 April. The event was organised jointly by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, the Federation of Austrian Industries, the Central Bank of the Republic of Austria, the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies and the Institute for Human Sciences.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, Miroslav Lajcak, Minister of State Enikö Györi from Hungary, the Slovene Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Igor Sencar and the Chairman of the Board of Erste Group Bank AG, Andreas Treichl, were among the participants who discussed the most important political and economic changes since the EU enlargement of 2004. "The ten countries that joined the EU on 1 May 2004 can look back on ten years of impressive achievements in terms of rule of law, competitiveness and open markets", Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said in his opening statement at the panel discussion. And while a lot has already been achieved there are still further challenges for the European Union ahead: "Austria also attaches great importance to expanding the zone of stability and peace to the countries of the Western Balkans. The 1990s conflicts on the Balkans entailed enormous political and financial follow-up costs - and this direct on our doorstep. With its accession to the EU, Croatia took the first step, and now we want to support the other countries on their way towards the EU too", Sebastian Kurz concluded.