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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 May, 2004, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
EU enlargement: Your views
On 1 May, 10 new states joined the European Union, in the biggest expansion in its history.

The EU is now the world's largest trading bloc, in terms of population, with 74 million new citizens taking the total to 455 million.

But some diplomats and experts have warned that the European Union is ill-equipped to cope with the integration of 10 new states.

There are concerns over potential paralysis in decision-making, the wealth gap between old and new members and the lack of a single vision of where Europe is heading.

How will such a large expansion affect Europe and the rest of the world? How will the new members adjust to life inside the union? Tell us what you think.

We will be discussing issues surrounding the EU enlargement in our global phone-in programme Talking Point on Sunday 2 May at 1406GMT. Our guest will be the Latvian president Vaira Vike-Freiberga. Please include your number if you would like to take a part. It will not appear online.


The following comments reflect the balance of the opinions we have received:

The combined GDP of the entering countries is the same as the Netherlands. However there are four times as many people living in these countries. Now if my maths is correct they will only dilute the funds currently available to the existing member states. So, either we pay more into the system or we take less out.
Dan Pilling, Heywood

Hopefully there are a few thousand plumbers migrating here as I have been trying to get my heating fixed for six weeks; a little cheap competition will make those already here charge less and turn up when they say they will.
David R, Plymouth UK

It's a great day that Europe can at least respire with two lungs
Krystyna, Czestochowa, Poland
I live through the different epochs - the Nazism (the German occupation), the Communism and I have never dreamed that Poland will be belong the EU. It's a great day that Europe can at least respire with two lungs and has one face.
Krystyna, Czestochowa, Poland

Having listened to tonight's program, how am I supposed to give any credibility to a Scot and a Welshman who, on the one hand, want to break away from the United Kingdom and take political control of their own countries and yet, on the other hand apparently want to hand over more political control of their respective countries to a European parliament! The whole thing is completely hypocritical and seems to me like a classic case of the grass looking greener on the other side.
Andrew Lockwood, Chesterfield, Derbyshire

We owe these people
Phil, UK
I welcome the ten new states to the EU, they deserve it. It was during WWII that many Polish and Czech pilots helped an under-manned RAF win the battle of Britain without them we could have fallen to the Nazi's. At the end of WWII we were free but many of these countries were left occupied by the Soviet Union. They helped us win freedom but did not get the same for themselves until 15 years ago. So we owe these people and should be giving them a warm welcome into the EU.
Phil, UK

Many years after political and economical transformation, Poland is on the way to becoming a better and more open country. Joining the EU will help us to build more a more effective economy. It'll also bring many advantages for other European countries - new markets, investments etc. It'll end once and for all partition of post-communistic and none-communistic countries.
Arrow, Suwalki, Poland

The whole EU enlargement debate is immaterial. In 10 years, China's economic power will roll over EU welfare states and ensure declining living standards in Europe. With all 25 countries having a veto power, I just can't see how Europe will be able to adapt to the fast changing world...
Bohdan Lasak, Ostrava, Czech Republic

The European landscape is facing a dramatic change
Gareth, Shropshire, UK
I look forward to the entry of the ten new members because Europe will finally see an end to decades of division on the political and economic level. The accession of these states gives hope to other poorer and equally as needy states like the FYR Macedonia. The European landscape is facing a dramatic change, but I hope it continues to do so with the admission of other countries too such as Russia, Ukraine and Turkey. Only then will Europe have a strong voice in this uni-polar world.
Gareth, Shropshire, UK

The expansion of the EU will have two beneficial effects. It will increase trade and hence living standards throughout the EU. It will also make increased political integration less likely. The downside is even more fat-cat Eurocrats in Brussels living off the European taxpayer.
Keith Rowland, Jakarta, Indonesia

To all those who are complaining about the poorer countries "taking" "our" money - please try to think long term. In a couple of decades when the whole of Europe is a richer more integrated place we will reap the benefits.
Anna, London

The EU enlargement is good for small, poor, socialist countries that are keen on the redistribution of wealth (ours) and are relaxed when it comes to detection of EU fraud. Good for us? I doubt it.
Graham Shelton, Oxford, England

I hope the EU will eventually develop into a superpower
Sonny, Chicago, IL
I think it is good that the EU is becoming a more diverse entity. I hope the EU will eventually develop into a superpower. It is not good for the world to only have one. We need checks and balances.
Sonny, Chicago, IL

A bigger EU will simply mean even better scope for the blatant waste and corruption which riddles the whole sorry structure. I fail to see how an organisation that has failed to get its accounts signed off by auditors for at least a decade can even think about expanding. The sooner the EU implodes, or the UK gets out, the better.
Malcolm, England

To those who are afraid of increasing influence of France and Germany due to the enlargement. It is nearly the opposite, as the EU is a democratic institution. And ... in Europe we know how to count votes.
Bernd Waniewski, Berlin, Germany

in practice it is expensive, bureaucratic, undemocratic and managed by too many people with vested interest
Paul B, Oxford, UK
There is nothing wrong with the EU in principle, but in practice it is expensive, bureaucratic, undemocratic and managed by too many people with vested interest. Also, judging by the year on year refusal of auditors to sign off accounts and the action taken against those who question the system, the management is arrogant, self-important and corrupt. It will go the same was as the Holy Roman Empire, which by the time of its final demise, was neither Holy, nor Roman nor an Empire.
Paul B, Oxford, UK

All this talk of failure is only true if you assume the European Union will eventually become one country. It won't. It is, and will remain for the foreseeable future, a trading block. The US doesn't assume that it will merge nationhood with Mexico because it's in NAFTA, so why all this talk of merging cultures and language. However, to answer Sam from LA - if you want to see a protectionist economy in action Sam - try being a non-American trying to do business in the States - it's a protectionist nightmare the barriers the US puts in the way of free trade.
Mike, Ipswich UK

Who has the most foreign investment out of all European countries? The UK! Who does not have the Euro? The UK! Whose economy has been growing whilst Europe stagnates? The UK! So why do we want to surrender to this Federalist State, who's only way of showing growth is by gaining new members?
Roger Morgan Freedlan, Whitwick, England

I am really proud to be a part of something that is putting an end to the historic divisions in Europe
Amy, Belgium, ex UK
Reading some of these views makes me really sad. As a young Brit working for the EU, I am really proud to be a part of something that is putting an end to the historic divisions in Europe. I don't want to spend my life living in fear of another war like my parents did. I will welcome with open arms our new eastern European members. And to those of you who think Britain will be better off out of Europe, you're wrong. You need to look at the whole picture. It's not all about trading and constitutions... Oh, and thanks for wanting to put an end to my (so far very enjoyable) career in Brussels
Amy, Belgium, ex UK

The power of the Europeans is that we have a sense of cooperation and humanitarian help that other countries, only interested in economical benefits, do not have.
Rubén H., Riaño, Spain

The EU will be the ruin of Europe. There are too many cultural differences between these countries. As an economic entity, it was a good idea. As a governmental one, it is a catastrophic idea. There will always be one or two countries in the mix greedily would like to control all of it. This is why the UK should get out while they can.
Julian, UK

Enlargement is an opportunity for us all. Why do we seem to think in terms of immigrants coming to Britain? Consider enlargement as an opportunity for us to go to other countries to live and work. Probably better weather as well!!
John Garner, Nottingham UK

New members into the EU with cheaper labour costs and a more productive labour force equals outside inward investment going to these countries. Forget mass migration coming to the UK, think mass migration of jobs leaving the UK for Eastern Europe.
Adam, Stoke, England

When Poland became an independent and democratic country in 1989, I was so enthusiastic and full of hope. In the day when Poles needn't have a visa anymore, I was queuing up at the Polish-German border to travel to Paris. Now after one decade I am going to drink a flute of champagne to celebrate the day of EU enlargement.
Blanka Lyszczarz Vautravers, Geneva, Switzerland

The EU is here to protect people's rights
Paulo Castro Garrido, Lisbon

The European Union is a gift from God. It is so nice to see the European family gathering together under a democratic organisation. Although many Europeans do not see it with good eyes, they may not know that the EU is here to protect people's rights. I am Portuguese and I am aware that Portugal will lose loads of EU funds with this enlargement. However I am deeply happy to accept more and more European Nations into our family. By accepting new member states it only makes us richer and this will make us able to have a stronger voice in the World. I hope all new member states will soon enjoy the same benefits as any other current state. To all the new member states - welcome!
Paulo Castro Garrido, Lisbon, Portugal

This is delusion of France and Germany to expand its area of dominance. It is unlikely that any sovereign nation will want to give up its independence or pride in the name of trade. What is the point of expanding the EU which is probably more socialist than China? Are they trying to say that their protectionist and socialist economy has no way to grow than adding few poor nations.
Sam, Los Angeles, USA

I think the British people are failing to see the big picture. I think the current EU countries have a lot to learn from the new members. We all benefit from each other's strengths and weaknesses and now the enlargement becomes the privileged stage to share them. One thing the British and everyone else can learn from the new members, particularly the Slavic countries like Slovakia and Poland is how to be humble and yet being good. As a student, I've learned heaps from exchange students from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, etc and they well deserve to receive funding.
Tiago, Lisbon, Portugal

EU enlargement is one of the most historic and positive steps ever taken by man! The entire world should support this as it is a step towards world peace. I cannot understand why anyone would only look at the negative aspects and then dismiss the idea of a union as 'impossible'. The EU must succeed, but to do so, each member state needs to have leaders that share a greater vision - not just that of improving one's own country, but looking at the implications of their decisions on the entire Union. European leaders now have responsibilities beyond their traditional borders. If they can get their act together and speak with one voice, there will no longer be a single world super power.
Rod, Australia

Europe has a unique opportunity to embrace all of its neighbours and enrich its culture
Mitch, London, UK
I have just returned from Slovakia and Hungary in the past two weeks and whilst I detected a slightly cynical note from the people I spoke to about their new partnership, I personally would welcome both nations' peoples into the fold, along with every other new entrant. Europe has a unique opportunity to embrace all of its neighbours and enrich its culture whilst recognising each country's heritage.
Mitch, London, UK

Yes, integration is an economic must today. However, I would very much prefer joining the US to joining the EU with its bureaucracy, socialism and Franco-German dominance.
Jiri Soska, Kurim, Czech Republic

I have been active in Poland and the Czech Republic since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and have seen how these countries have evolved on their own strengths over this period. Congratulations to them for what they achieved without being member of the EU. Welcome to the club.
Jan De Vriese, Gijzegem, Belgium

It makes me proud to see countries joining an organisation of peace and cooperation when less than 20 years ago nuclear weapons were aimed at each other, and 60 years ago millions were dying. Yes, the EU needs reform, more transparency, more democracy but the principle is sound. If we want to part of the future we must stop griping and complaining. The way to change things is from the inside instead of this incessant moaning that other countries are quite rightly tiring of.
Katherine, London, UK

On a trip to Spain last summer, I was pleased and impressed with the social services there, particularly the public transport. It is modern, usually punctual and on the whole in far better shape than the rickety old line I get into work every day. Use this, perhaps, as a symbol of the EU. Spain was one of the poorest countries in Europe post-Franco, until it joined the EU. There it benefited from EU handouts which created this marvellous transport system.

Why is it fair that Britain, a richer country than Spain, should have sub-class facilities and a budget for the NHS and other social services that is stretched to breaking point, while those who are deemed more needy get my taxes to build a far better system than we have here. I'm all for redistribution of wealth, but only fairly.
Amanda, London

In response to Amanda's comments. We have a sub standard rail system because we decided, in our infinite wisdom, to privatise our rail network, thus ensuring that funds that might otherwise be channelled back into the service went to shareholders and executives.
Hans, England

The EU should be an economic authority, not a political one
Mike Daly, Miami, Fl - USA
The expansion of the EU is a great idea. The problem arises when the EU goes out and sets a political agenda. The EU should be an economic authority, not a political one. If I were an European citizen, that would be my major concern.
Mike Daly, Miami, Fl - USA

The EU has brought stability, common standards and peace to the various and varied countries of Europe. With the hard working people of Eastern Europe filling up jobs that Brits can't be bothered to fill our economy should carry on performing. Unfortunately the xenophobia expressed by most British people is a reflection of their poor standard of education combined with the mistaken belief that the US cares for them as one of their own - the US only looks after it's own interests and why shouldn't it.
Rupi B, London UK

Long live the EU! The expansion is definitely a good thing. Understandably it is a somewhat risky venture and it will take a while to fully integrate the new EU states but at the end of the day it will greatly expand our political and economic clout in the world. We will eventually become the counterbalance to the US superpower.
I Juman, Reading, England

I cannot understand as to why enlargement of the EU should lead to inflow of people from the new member states into only BRITAIN? Are the economy of all other countries mismanaged?
Vijay K Vijayaratnam

This expansion highlights the need for a single language. That should be at the heart of the new constitution. Cultural variations between partners can add to the quality of life but a single language is a basic ingredient of any union.
John M, LyneMeads, UK

Whereas probably the new member states will come into the EU prepared, the present members do not seem to even know what to expect. It will take years before the full impact of this expansion will be clear, and then even more years to deal with it. I foresee an enormous weakening of the economy and a deterioration of social services etc. You don't have to be an expert on these things to realise that it's coming far too early. 20 years ago I would have welcomed this expansion, but experience of the EU has cured me from that naiveté.
Ed Karten, London England

The EU is a miracle, and long may it last
Colm Ryan, Milan, Italy
Since the rise of the nation state in the 18th century, European countries have spent much of their time invading and conquering each other. Now, in a few decades, we have gone from the being the epicentre of two world wars to becoming the most peaceful and stable political bloc in the world. The EU is a miracle, and long may it last.
Colm Ryan, Milan, Italy

455 million people speaking how many languages? And with different traditions, expectations, economies and territories. What a mess! In America it's the "melting pot" but we share a common land and melted into a common language, politics and history. Taking away Europeans' money and re-flagging them as a "union" is not the same thing.
Jeremy, Houston, USA

Look at what happened when West Germany reluctantly embraced East Germany, virtual bankruptcy, that is what the new entrants will cause to happen, there are too many at one time to be subsidised by the handful that are able to pay.
John, Lincs, UK

Isn't it interesting that people from the non-English speaking nations are, by and large, up-beat and positive. It is a somewhat sad contrast to the majority of comments by English speakers (most of whom I'd wager wouldn't be able to express themselves on a French, German, Spanish, Italian or Czech website!) that are mainly of a negative tone. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.....??
Jeremy Smith, Luxembourg (Brit)

It is a good thing that EU is expanding, because it will one day be able to fully balance and check the U.S power.
Aikande Kwayu, Tanzania

Unfortunately while trade and immigration within EU is easy, trading and moving between EU and non-EU countries became much harder. Plus EU has a lot of unified policies for very different countries, like how much pepper should be in their ketchup, things the central authority should have no business dictating. I like the concept of unified Europe, but I think EU with its bureaucracy is going the wrong way.
Yakov, Moscow, Russia

The EU is all about Wealth Redistribution
John, Brentwood, UK
The EU is all about Wealth Redistribution. Its single largest item of expenditure is the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) which favours the poorer countries and the second largest is overseas aid (i.e. outside the EU). I pay my taxes for my public services and needs, not somebody else's.
John, Brentwood, UK

SM, Bristol, should read the BBC article, which was published today (Tuesday ). The UK is the fourth most competitive economy in the EU, behind only Finland, Denmark and Sweden. SM's comments are a fine example of just how blinkered a pro-European can be.
Phil Moore, London, United Kingdom

I would say to the newcomers - Welcome to the Tower of Babel. I only hope that with the entry of the 10 new members we can introduce democracy to the EU, and with the shift of gravity to the east, perhaps this will break the Franco-German grip on power within the Union
Richard, Bridgend, Mid Glam

Recipe for success: Form a trading block and call it the European Economic Community or Common Market. Recipe for failure: Take the above and call it the European Union, add members to a committee that rarely agrees on anything and to make sure it goes really wrong add even more members. Then half bake it in the oven along with many other ideas that stem from politicians and see how palatable it really is.
A Merritt, Portsmouth, UK

The enlargement is an excellent thing that will directly affect and improve the lives of many Europeans. The next step for EU leaders is to improve the lives of non-Europeans suffering in the world.
Ramzi, Montreal, Canada

Were it just a trading union, it'd be fine. It's a monster, though. We're going to end up forking out more and more to pull the poor countries in the EU up to scratch, whilst we get more and more red tape and rules to restrict us. Sorry, but I feel that it's time for the UK to pull out. We don't need to be in the EU to be a part of Europe.
Andy, England

I think that the new members states will prove themselves assets in EU competitiveness
Richard Y, USA
I'm very happy that these once oppressed states can enjoy the benefits of the EU. They've worked so hard to earn accession and I can only congratulate them for the success. I think that the new members states will prove themselves assets in EU competitiveness, and their performance will encourage further expansion (Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey).
Richard Y, USA

In principal, it is a good thing and something which will have long term benefits. Unfortunately, in the short term, it is more likely to bring problems, since the EU, in the form of its leaders, has done its usual job of failing to sort out logistical and organisational matters beforehand. Before we can see the benefits of such a large trading bloc, we are going to have to go through the quagmire of a chaotic and overblown bureaucracy and continuing national vetoes, which will probably all but hamstring the true economic potential of the larger EU.
David Hazel, Fareham, UK

I'm proud to be a part of a Europe that embraces change and progress. The Baltic countries have done an admirable job with becoming Westernised in less than fifteen years so I am rightly glad they are finally "joining Europe." There's a lot of work to be done, but we will help those who need help, for everyone's good.
Catherine, Helsinki, Finland

Why people fear a loose of identity or nationality. We can create one country which preserve the both, look at Britain, you have Scotland, Wales England, all have different tradition and identity but they live together as they share the same core value. As you can be Scottish and British you can be Italian and European or Spanish and European. People just have to want it. But as far as I'm concerned I feel Breton, French and European, and there is no contradiction. I don't want a trading organisation, I want a real unification even if it means, it must be fewer country to participate.
Luc, France

As an observer who has had the chance to visit several "new" and "old" members of the expanding EU, a core observation by Karl Marx (remember him?) is still to the point, "everything is economic". The EU will only be something if it improves everyone's standard of living. To achieve that, the EU will have to invest a considerable amount of capital in technology based new ventures, which means taking significant capital risks that are untraditional. Feeding older industries in a traditional manner will not generate enough growth to do the job. I wish the EU luck.
Van Parker, Greenwich, CT, USA

Europe is the only power the world can honestly count on for aid and assistance
Dimitris, Athens, Greece
It is a great day, where Europeans can look into a future of peace and prosperity with even more hope than the first 6 members did back in 1957 (only 12 years after WW2). Great opportunities lie ahead if we are brave enough to face the difficulties. The 50 years past have shown what European cooperation can achieve. Today, as a result of this co-operation Europe dominates such industries as civil aviation and telecommunications and Europe is the only power the world can honestly count on for aid and assistance instead of bombs and carnage.

Brits: Do not forget that even the Concorde was the result of such co-operation. It grieves me to see so much hatred and petty nationalism everyday in the UK media. If the UK still lives in the 1930's then the rest of us should move on without them...
Dimitris, Athens, Greece

The United States of America worked because they used only one language, and every state got only two senators. The enlarged EU will ultimately fail because today each little ethnic group wants special consideration. I believe in the EU, but I can soon change my mind if the politicians don't get off their collective butts and make it work. You are on notice, I may want to vote with my feet one day.
Peter, Middlesbrough, UK

The EU is just another Cold War relic. Wisdom would leave it as a trading bloc, an economic creature. But the compulsion to tell others what to do is too strong in Paris and Berlin; the worship of the bureaucrat is overwhelming. The EU will strangle itself.
Scott, USA

I feel a strong sense of European identity
Gareth, Hartlepool, UK
The British people need to realise that we are no longer in possession of an empire and that we are by no means a superpower within the global community. In order to succeed we need to build stronger alliances closer to home, in Europe. I'm 18 and I feel a strong sense of European identity and I look forward to the many new opportunities that are soon to arise.
Gareth, Hartlepool, UK

It's amazing that after centuries of conflict and bloodshed the 1st of May will bring together 25 very diverse nations into one union. This diversity is not Europe's weakness, but rather its strength. Each accession country will bring into Europe its traditions, its culture but most of all the energy to strengthen Europe further. This union of nations spanning the whole continent acts as an effective catalyst and a safeguard for peace and prosperity in our continent. The future looks good!
Etienne Ciantar, San Gwann, Malta

We can't get the nations already in the EEC to work together properly yet, so we have no chance of the new members working properly with the old, as, in my view, Germany and France seem to think they run the EEC.
Tony Mellor, Warwickshire

The EU is the best thing that has ever happened to Europe, and represents our greatest opportunity for long term peace, prosperity, freedom and happiness. The people of the UK should recognise this and embrace the EU wholeheartedly.
Ewan Slater, St Albans, England

The EU is not a democratic organisation
Alec Wood, Hartlepool, UK
First though we need more democracy. The EU is not a democratic organisation.
Alec Wood, Hartlepool, UK

This EU expansion is becoming a bit of a farce. You cannot please all of the people all of the time. Some will win some will lose. Britain must keep well out of it (but have good relations with it) and create its own economic destiny. We are quite capable of trading with whom we please in the world. But please no more EU bureaucracy, no more EU laws to run our country. No more new world order via Europe.
Bob, UK

Working for a Anglo Dutch company and having a job where I live and work in the UK but spend 90% of my time talking and working with and in EU people and companies, it's quite sad but we in the UK are simply not competitive enough to belong in the EU. Our prices of goods/ services are high & infrastructure is poor.
SM, Bristol

As far as I can see the EU is better off without Switzerland, Norway and the UK (if people actually think this). I left the UK ages ago never to return to such a backward looking country ever again! We are in 2004 not 1945! After Japan, Spain/France/Germany here I come!
Tom, Japan (moving to Spain soon)

The EU will NEVER be the US.....sorry guys!! Different languages, different cultures, nepotism, monarchies, democracies, you are all too different!
Maureen, Florida, USA

To Maureen, Florida, USA: I think you are missing the point. Europe does not want to be like us. The US has shown the world how not to act in almost every global situation. Europeans are learning from our mistakes and are much more intelligent than most of the people in the States. After all, they didn't elect the tyrant we call a president.
Paul Serwinski, New Britain, CT, USA

I think the main strengths of the EU is the respect of Human rights and the balanced foreign policy. Europe has moved in less than 40 years from a continent infested with wars, racism, genocides, colonialism, and poverty to a model in economic success and human development. The Middle East can learn valuable lessons from Europe, but at its own pace and with no foreign interference.
Nabil, UK

Enlargement is a cause for celebration
Ken, Scotland
60 years ago, Europe was engaged in the 2nd World War. 30 years ago it was the centre of the Cold War. Enlargement is a cause for celebration - and a vindication of those who lost their lives in defending freedom.
Ken, Scotland

Anyone who thinks that the UK will be better off outside of the EU is deluding themselves. Norway, a non-member, pays more per capita to access EU markets than the UK does as a member. So if we're outside the Union, we'll pay more to have access to the lucrative EU markets but will have absolutely no say in the running of the EU. Say goodbye to the economic prosperity the UK is currently enjoying.
Greg, West Sussex, UK

Not that much changes on May 1st. We have been receiving aid through Phare and other funds, we don't have customs duties with the EU for most goods and travel control is limited to a minimum. The introduction of the euro is much more important for me.
Michal Borsuk, Poland

Another ten countries able to join, to make a total of 25. 25 nations banding together to better themselves and to further mankind. I wonder why the British think that it is not for them?
Andrew M, Walsall, UK

It will not be viable without a European Constitution
Peter, Belgium
In principle, I hail the enlargement. However, I think it will not be viable without a European Constitution that deals with decision making issues. It was difficult to reach an agreement with 15 members, now we have 25 partners amongst whom we need to agree.
Peter, Belgium

With enlargement, Europe will finally be unified and at peace. How lucky we are to live at this time in history with the EU delivering peace, security and prosperity for Europeans.
Stuart, London, UK

The EU will not be a counterbalance to the US - it is economically inefficient, bureaucratic and over-regulated and so simply cannot compete. Its protectionist trade policies only make it poorer. Its rigid labour laws depress productivity. However, since most of the 10 new members are much more pro-American than the existing ones, perhaps this expansion will finally force the EU to face reality and stop trying to overtake the US for its own sake.
Euan Gray, Edinburgh, UK

The expansion will help all to work together so that all can enjoy a wealthier life
Pedro , RI, USA
The EU is becoming a smaller United States. There are many wealthy and many poor countries, just like in the USA there are some wealthy states and some poor states. The expansion will help all to work together so that all can enjoy a wealthier life while at the same time preserving their culture and traditions.
Pedro , RI, USA

The enlarged Europe will only work so long as the diversity of the nations is not stifled. Decisions should be taken at the most appropriate level, i.e. issues which affect the whole of Europe e.g. environmental issues should be taken at European level. There is no reason why an enlarged European Union shouldn't work but it may take time-look at the formation of the USA. Those who say the UK should withdraw and seek closer ties with the USA are fooling themselves. The White House is only interested in Britain when it suits them. Britain would be dwarfed in NAFTA by the USA, Canada and Mexico. We are European, not north American, whether we like it or not-and that is a geographic fact.
Ian, Leeds, UK

I am just very happy because I am moving in with my girlfriend who is a Lithuanian citizen, we are just waiting for 1st May to get rid of all visa limitations. I think we will be the first ones to benefit from EU enlargement.
AJ, Bolton, UK

An expansion of this magnitude will ultimately result in the world's largest super-power. As an American I welcome the EU. It will be helpful to share the burden of protecting these freedoms with our Trans-Atlantic neighbours. Be prepared, it will require thick skin when the root causes of all the worlds problems can be traced back to the powerful EU.
Chuck, Pennsylvania, USA

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all the people that expressed the view to remove the UK completely from the EU for the probable loss of my job
John Bright, Cardiff
As someone employed by a French company, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all the people that expressed the view to remove the UK completely from this expanded EU for the probable loss of my job. My brother would also send similar sentiments from his German employers.
John Bright, Cardiff

This is a good thing. The goal should remain a trade organization dealing with tariff and currency issues rather than bureaucratic overloading trend that will cause its downfall if left unchecked.
Rasheed, USA

Some people here confuse me. We are not in the middle ages. The expansion of the EU is absolutely mandatory; none of the individual members could survive without some trade relations and some common international political rules without war. I wouldn't mind the UK getting out of it but unfortunately that is not possible.
Francois, Toulouse, France

To compete with the growing Chinese and American markets Europe needs to accept unification as a necessary evil.
Jack, US

The EU would never have started at all if the original countries hadn't taken that first, vital, step into the unknown. The expansion is a bold step forward to increase international unity and understanding by uniting all our interests. Treaties are the first step but it's the personal contact through easier trade and travel which will do more than anything else to increase understanding among the people of the EU.
John M, Lyne Meads

The people of the new member countries will soon be asking what the real benefits are to them
Les, Morpeth, England
If the EU remained a "trading bloc" there would be little cause for concern and expansion could be a good thing. The people of the new member countries will soon be asking what the real benefits are to them when they are paying higher taxes and their businesses are strangled by red tape.
Les, Morpeth, England

An enlarged Europe will only work so long as the diversity of the nations is not stifled. There is no reason why an enlarged European Union shouldn't work but it may take time - look at the formation of the USA.
Ian, Leeds

The British only ever voted for a free European Market but successive governments have turned it into apolitical monster without the authority of the peoples of the member states. These new members could have joined without difficulty had the EU remained a free market only but now because of the excessive bureaucracy it will be a nightmare.
Peter Laggett, Swindon

The EU expands, but to what benefit to its existing membership? It increasingly looks like a 21st century attempt at empire-building without the bother of travel to parts unknown and exploration
Graeme, London

As a current 'middle-ranking' EU nation in terms of wealth, the UK will certainly lose out under the expansion proposals. Just take Objective One funding for example, the status given to some of the most deprived regions of the UK, which entitles then to EU monies to improve inward investment and thereby reduce unemployment levels in 'hotspots'. The amount of funding the UK is entitled to is based on the GDP output and averaged between the 15 current members. Clearly, if poor nations join the EU, the UK will be seen as relatively wealthy in comparison and we will become one of the wealthiest members. The level of EU subsidies this country receives will radically fall.
Jon Lewis, Cardiff, Wales

I look forward to the EU expanding to 25 countries almost as much as I look forward to it reducing to 24 when we at last get a UK government with the guts to get us out of it.
Derek S, UK

1st of May is a day to celebrate peace and goodwill, a day of hope and a great example for the rest of the world
Irene Papatheodorou, London, UK
The EU symbolises peace, through co-existence of different cultures. Its enlargement, with all the difficulties it may bring during the adjustment of the new member states, in essence symbolises the values of freedom, cooperation and friendship between countries. The 1st of May is a day to celebrate peace and goodwill, a day of hope and a great example for the rest of the world.
Irene Papatheodorou, London, UK

Well, I'm sure it's all great fun for the newcomers, but from where I'm standing I can't see why anyone would want to be a member of this grim, backward-minded, sleazy and miserable club. The EU can do what it likes, it's not my problem because soon I hope my country is going to withdraw its membership.
Russ, London, UK

How will such a large expansion affect us? By pulling on the already strained resources we have left already! We will become a 'dumpster' and need to be looking at those countries who have the right idea... the Swiss for instance.
FB, GB

Listen to them.... the whole thing will fall apart into a big mess and all those greedy evil new comers will take all our money and jobs. And we'll have the same boring culture. Or a closer peaceful wider union will lead to prosperity for everyone as the wealth of all countries increases through increased trade and cooperation. We will all be exposed to each others cultures, but that is not a bad thing, there is opportunity for learning and new experiences in that. Europe is not going to merge into one culture, that is just plain silly.
Declan, Ireland

Countries joining the EU as well as the old members will have to adjust to each other in order to preserve European Union. There are number of differences among the current members, and the expansion will add more inequality, opinions, and cultures. However, I believe that after few decades people will learn to live next to each other in the greater Pan-European state. It will provide counter balance US as the newcomers will achieve higher level of development.
Piotr Luc, Poland

It is expensive, bureaucratic, undemocratic and managed by too many people with vested interest
Paul B, Oxford, UK
There is nothing wrong with the EU in principle, but in practice it is expensive, bureaucratic, undemocratic and managed by too many people with vested interest. Also, judging by the year on year refusal of auditors to sign off accounts and the action taken against those who question the system, the management is arrogant, self-important and corrupt. It will go the same was as the Holy Roman Empire, which by the time of its final demise, was neither Holy, nor Roman nor an Empire.
Paul B, Oxford, UK

A growing, dynamic and sustainable European Union confederation will be a respectable force for positive change and progress in the continent and the world at large. The reduction in protectionist and nationalistic barriers across member-states will promote growth, diversity and multiculturalism and undercut the forces of tribal nationalism and xenophobia that are growing against foreigners whose productivity and know-how contribute to economic expansion and development.
But, above all, the EU will be the unrivalled and unequalled counter-force to the arrogant, interventionist unilateralism of the the United States in world affairs without undermining trans-Atlantic, historical ties. But, above all, the EU will be a catalyst for globalization and transformation in developing nations.
Igonikon Jack, USA

After enlargement, there will be reduction. Hopefully, very soon after your referendum, UK will pull out of EU, we'll be only 395 million in Europe, living 60 million isolated and closer to US policies.
David, Rennes, France

Eventually the EU will fall apart because the interests are too diverse and when the national identities begin to suffer, some will reject EU membership.
Nigel, UK

Some of these countries are joining purely for the 'goody-bags' they'll receive on entry, not to mention the inward investment which comes mainly from Britain, Germany and France. Our farming industry has been deliberately decimated to make way for the agri-intense economies of Poland etc. As for our fishing-grounds, what happened there? Let them join, the more the merrier - as long as we can leave ASAP.
A. Howlett, Cheshire, England

Unwieldy. What was meant to make trading easier has now become a bureaucratic, meddlesome nightmare. It's bad enough trying to compare UK/German economies with Portugal/Greece. Failing Slavic economies will dump their unemployed upon us. That alone will ensure that the multiculturalists liberals get the mish-mash super-state that they want. No more cultural differences. Just one big monocultural Europe. BORING!
James Butler, Kerry, Ireland

Interesting that the new joiners are all poor-ish states. You don't see Norway or Switzerland clamouring at the gates to be let in.
Tom, UK




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SEE ALSO:
Russia eyes new EU with concern
26 Apr 04  |  Europe


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