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New Enlargement Wave Gets EU Closer to it`s Initial Goal

Date: 16.12.2006

A ceremony in Brussels on December 14 marked Bulgaria and Romania's upcoming EU entry on January's 1 2007.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev, his Romanian counterpart Calin Popescu Tariceanu, enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso attended the ceremony among others.

Adding Bulgaria symbolically to the union, Stanishev placed a peace of gingerbread, shaped like the country's map to a larger piece outlining all EU countries.

Bulgaria had a long way to go and achieved a significant victory, marking the end of the fifth enlargement wave, Stanishev said.

The European Union was getting closer to the initial ideal of including all European countries, while at the same time respecting their identity and cultural diversity, said he.

History, culture and ethnic tolerance in Bulgaria were going to contribute to the union's development, Stanishev said. The country was to play the same role as other member states in the setting up of a strong and efficient union.

Barroso addressed people attending the ceremony in Bulgarian and said that January's 1 was important date for all union countries.

During the ceremony, Stanishev decided to take part in the longest human chain initiative, dedicated to Bulgaria and Romania's EU entry. In the coming three months, everyone willing to do so can submit a photo with arms wide open to the MTV music channel website. MTV is among the organisations responsible for the initiative.

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