Speech

Address by Anders Fogh Rasmussen Prime Minister of Denmark at the Ceremony of Signature of the Accession Treaty Athens 16 April 2003

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Presidents, Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The cradle of European democracy stood in ancient Athens. Today, the treaty of the mature European democracy is signed in modern Athens, at the foot of the historical Acropolis. Now we realise a vision which generations of Europeans have fought for – a vision of a new Europe – a vision of one Europe.

Our new Europe was made possible by the will of the people in Central and Eastern Europe. By brave individuals who stood up against oppression and fought for their freedom and democratic rights. Let me recall the Hungarian Revolt in 1956, the Prague Spring in 1968, the Solidarity Movement in Poland in the 1980’ties, the Human Chain through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in 1989, the popular movements in East Germany. Some of the important events that undermined the dictators and finally led to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The enlargement we are signing today represents a continuation of the hopes and aspirations of the peoples in your countries.

Our common future Europe is based on shared values: freedom and market economy, community and social responsibility, democracy and human rights.

Together, we will represent immense strength. The European Union will be one of the largest economic powers in the world. We have created better opportunities for flourishing trade, more investments and economic growth.

Presidents, Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me finally to pay a special tribute to the representatives of the acceding countries and the people they represent: You did the hard work. We are all indebted to you, for making this enlargement possible. To you I say again: “Warmly welcome to our family”. Together we open a new chapter in European history – our new Europe characterised by prosperity and the triumph of liberty and democracy. Denmark looks forward to working with you as equal partners in the European Union.