By Peter Turčík
The concept of the European Union that was born in Nice has become a reality. Romania and Bulgaria will become the 26th and 27th member states of the EU, thus making up the quota called for by European legislation.
Slovakia now stands before an important question - will it or will it not open its labour market to the new EU members? The Robert Fico government here has a chance to make good on the Smer party's election slogan - "solidarity". Above all with those who shared with is the unenviable fate of spending four decades under communism.
Both Old and New Europe have run out of steam following this fifth enlargement of the EU, however, so other potential entry candidates such as Turkey, Croatia and other states of the former Yugoslavia will have to wait some years to see if they get a ticket to join. The exhaustion is both economic and political, as political leaders in the original 15 members now realize that their futures are tied up not with generosity to former communist states but to serving the wishes of their own voters. The EU's moral debt to Central and Eastern Europe is now regarded as paid in full.
This was exactly the tone of Romanian President Traian Basescu's comment on the resolution of the European Parliament, when he said that with the entry of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU, the collapse of communism in Europe was definitively complete.