Five successful enlargements have followed since then:
• In 1973, Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom joined the European Union.
• In 1981, Greece became a Member State.
• In 1986, Spain and Portugal became members.
• In 1995, Austria, Finland and Sweden joined the EU.
In 2004, the EU underwent a historic enlargement to incorporate 10 countries from Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean: Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. It was a unique, historic enlargement which signified the re-unification of Europe after decades of division by the Iron Curtain.
The accession of Romania and Bulgaria on January 1st 2007 completed the fifth enlargement of the EU that had started in May 2004.
A gradual and carefully managed enlargement policy is in the interest of the EU. At present, the Western Balkans, Turkey and Iceland are moving closer to meeting the necessary conditions to join the EU.