Today is an historic day for Europe.
Today we welcome into the EU family 10 new member countries and 75 million new EU citizens. Five decades after our great project of European integration began, the divisions of the Cold War are gone once and for all and we live in a united Europe. It took courage, determination and a lot of effort from the peoples and political forces in the new Member States to get this far. It took vision and generosity from the peoples and leaders in the current EU.
This week, I will have the enormous pleasure of welcoming 10 new colleagues into the European Commission.
They and their fellow citizens bring to the Union the cultures and diversity of 10 countries with distinct historical roots stretching back through the centuries.
Today, the peoples of Europe are celebrating EU enlargement in a series of cultural events from the west coast of Ireland to the eastern border of Poland, and from Valletta in the south to the northernmost tip of Finland. Today Europeans are celebrating the fact that they are no longer kept apart by phoney ideological barriers.
As President of the European Commission I wish to stress the point that the Commission is here to serve the citizens of Europe. Our job is to ensure that the European Union works for you, to ensure more and better jobs, a more competitive economy, a cleaner environment, even better quality food and an area of freedom and justice free from the twin threats of crime and terrorism.
While I rejoice today and take pride in the enormity of our achievement in reuniting a once-divided continent, I realise that this is only the beginning.
Each and every one of us in the new Europe of 455 million citizens must now work together to build on the foundations we have all helped to lay. What we have achieved is not irreversible. Our cooperation will face constant obstacles and challenges. But
United in diversity we will be stronger and better equipped to find solutions to common problems. United in diversity, we can work more effectively for safety and prosperity for all. Welcome to the New Europe.