TIMELINES: On April 16, 2003, how many countries joined the EU in its biggest enlargement in history?

April 16, 2012 Updated: September 29, 2015

Monday, April 16, 2012


April 16, 2003, 10 candidate countries—Hungary, Poland, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Cyprus, the Slovak Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, and Malta—became members of the European Union with the signing of the 2003 Treaty of Accession. It marked the first time the EU incorporated 10 countries at once, before the maximum number had been limited to three. A single treaty was issued for all 10 acceding countries. One of the key provisions of the treaty is the obligation to participate in the Economic and Monetary Union from the date of accession. On May 4, 2004, the treaty went into effect after being ratified in all 10 new members states.


ast week, Poland’s central bank chief Marek Belka discussed Poland’s mandatory conversion from its own national currency to the euro. In his comments, Belka said he believes the euro will survive, however, in a slightly modified form. He also indicated that Poland will gradually adopt the euro as the country’s economy begins to converge with those of the more affluent members of the eurozone. “I’m always against setting dates [for adoption],” Belka was quoted as saying in the Wall Street Journal. “It’s going to be a winding road toward the euro.” He continued, “The economy needs to grow faster than of the countries we see as models until the development gap is closed. Economic growth can’t be too rapid. We can’t grow much faster than we do in Poland.”