25 countries in the EU today

Today ten more countries became members of the European Union. When Denmark joined in 1972 we were nine countries, now we’re 25.

Depending on who is speaking this event marks an end to one of two different periods in European history. The new member countries celebrate properly joining the political Europe after having first endured various degrees of occupation and/or oppression from the USSR from 1945 to the fall of the USSR around 1990 and then a decade and a half of uncertain times after that. For many in the old member countries, the occasion is yet another landmark event in the history of peace in Europe after the second world war: Never before have so many European countries been members of the same European association.

In my opinion this is a happy occasion. Politically it makes a ton of sense, the direct continuation of the unofficial mission of EU, namely to make trading partners and friends of historical enemies. In the short-term perspective I think it’s going to cause a lot of economic stress as the members of the EU now include both rich and very poor countries. The disparity is going to be evened out a bit in the coming years, but isn’t that what it’s all about? Making Europe safer and more prosperous overall by putting Europeans on a more equal footing.

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