Slovakia celebrates 14 years in EU

Slovakia became part of the European Union on May 1, 2004 along with nine other countries

(Source: Sme)

Fourteen years ago, the Slovak Republic became an equal member of the European Union – the community that has witnessed peace in Europe for the longest time since it has been established.

Together with nine other countries, Slovakia has since then enjoyed not just the economic benefits of the biggest trade super-power worldwide, but shared common values like freedom, democracy and solidarity, Jana Cappello of the European Commission’s Representation in Slovakia wrote.

As practical benefits for Slovak citizens, she named freedom of movement, opportunities to work, study and travel across the whole EU, the common currency, Erasmus study opportunities, the end of border checks and customs, and visa-free travel to countries outside the EU, a better offer on goods and better prices, abolishing the dual quality of consumer goods, the better overall protection of consumers, the improved position on the international scene, the improved development, modernising and investments, especially in rural areas, the biggest economic boom in modern Slovak history, environmental protection, and better participation in European policies and decision-making.

When quantified, EU membership also means more than €18.6 billion from the EU budget, with more finances to come, a better convergence of Slovak regions and decrease in regional differences, more than 40,000 students studying within the Erasmus and Erasmus+ programmes (and more for teachers; overall more than 108,000 Slovaks used these programmes), improved infrastructure from EU funds, and more.

“In the 14 years since joining, the European Union has gradually become a firm part of all our lives,” opined Ladislav Miko, head of the EC Representation in Slovakia. “Surely everyone has felt the positive impacts of EU membership first-hand, maybe without really noticing it… Do you read the composition and ingredients on food packaging? Do you claim faulty goods within two years of guarantee? Do you call people without worries from holiday abroad? Don’t pay for bank transfers? Have you or your children/grandchildren studied through Erasmus? If you answer Yes at least once, this means you have at least some experience with the benefits of EU membership,” Miko stated, adding that EU membership is a huge success for Slovakia, and that he believes all citizens will fully enjoy the benefits of this success fully for many years.

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