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News article1 May 2024Directorate-General for Communication1 min read

20th anniversary of EU enlargement

European puzzle

20 years ago today, the European Union gained 10 new member states: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. This date of EU enlargement is particularly special because it is the largest in terms of the number of countries and populations that became part of the European Union.

For member states, joining the EU brings many benefits. For example, their citizens gain more freedom to live, study or work in other EU countries, businesses gain more opportunities and can expand because of the single market, and member states gain access to more investment and funding by the EU. Moreover, belonging to the EU promotes political stability, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

EU enlargement also benefits the Union itself. That’s why negotiations with candidate and possible candidate countries, such as with Ukraine and some Balkan countries, are consistently being advanced.


Want to know more about the EU countries? Check out our interactive learning tool The EU: What’s it all about?



Publication date
1 May 2024
Directorate-General for Communication
Type of content
  • News