The latest stage of enlargement on May 1, when ten new members were admitted to the EU, was promoted by the striving for lasting peace and stability on the continent. It proceeded by the same logic that guided us at the beginning of the European unification process. European integration launched a new policy designed to stop the growth of mistrust, internecine hatred, nationalism and haughtiness by bringing about a close and unbreakable unity of the nations of Europe that would prevent them from fighting each other again. When Bulgaria and Romania join the EU in several years, we will accomplish the great historical task of rallying nearly 500 million people around common values.
To Russians, who still remember about the numerous victims of World War II, the appeasement of the bulk of the European continent is a guarantee that the future generations of Russian citizens will not be unreasonably involved in the maelstrom of aggression and violence.
There is a vast and so far latent potential of economic cooperation in Russia-EU relations, above all in the industries. Close ties between us could add dynamics to Russian exports to the EU. Accession to the WTO will create new possibilities for Russia and allow it to enjoy the economic advantages of international cooperation.
On the whole, Russia will play the crucial part in creating an image of Europe as a united continent responsible for Europeans and other nations in such spheres as the struggle against terrorism and international bandit groups and efforts to prevent climate change.
The EU pins its hopes on a strong a viable democracy in Russia, which is necessary for such partnership. With this aim in view, the EU is promoting an open and tolerant society in its member states and partner countries. With this aim in view, the EU is striving for cooperation and mutual understanding, so that the space of material and spiritual prosperity would expand in the EU and beyond it, said Commissioner Verheugen.