Minister Dermot Ahern welcomes Bulgaria and Romania to the EU
Bulgaria and Romania’s accession to the EU is “a defining moment for both countries and a landmark for Europe as a whole,” said the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern, T.D. The Minister was speaking this evening at a reception in Iveagh House to mark the accession to the European Union of Bulgaria and Romania on 1 January.
Noting that Ireland “as a beneficiary of the first enlargement has a special insight into the possibilities and potential of EU membership” the Minister said that the EU provides “a framework within which a country can prosper through its own hard work and also benefit from the collective solidarity that characterises European integration.”
“Of course, we know that membership is no cure-all, nor does it guarantee success. For Ireland, it took some time for the advantages of membership to be fully felt.”
Noting that 2007 would mark the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, Minister Ahern said that “this [occasion] gives us a great opportunity to renew the momentum of European integration.”
“There is much to be happy about, but there are absolutely no grounds for complacency. There is an enormous amount to be done and we cannot take the future of Europe for granted. We ought to use this anniversary as a stimulus to encourage us to create the kind of Union capable of serving our people’s interests in the years ahead.”
The Minister recalled that also on 1 January, three languages, Irish, Bulgarian and Romanian, “joined the family of official EU languages, adding significantly to the Union’s impressive linguistic diversity as well as introducing a third EU alphabet, Cyrillic. This wholehearted respect for diversity is a quintessential EU quality. As committed Europeans, we cherish our cultural differences while, at the same time, working together diligently to deepen our integration and further our common interests.”
Concluding his remarks, Minister Ahern recalled the old Irish proverb: ““Ní neart go chur le chéile” – it is only by working together that we will be strong. This is an apt description of the essential strength of our Union. Now that we are 27, that principle remains as valid as ever” he said.Top