In the midst of the historical enlargement, there exists a strange combination of change and continuity in the European Union. On the former, the EU is much less secure about what it will bring to the new entrants. On the latter, the arguments about the merits and risks of enlargement are largely the same as they were more than 10 years ago. In 2004, the EU is much less secure about itself, and about the quality and future of its model. In fact, Europe, old as well as new, is in the midst of a deep identity crisis. However, we should be more conscious of our achievements, and therefore more ready and willing to share them with others. At the end of the day, even the most sceptical of the new entrants do have to accept that the EU symbolises economic modernity.
Another message of the EU, after modernity and democracy, is reconciliation. These messages will then be even more valid when it is applied to the next wave of enlargement and concern countries such as Romania, Bulgaria or Croatia, not to mention others still further away. We must stop considering this enlargement solely as a moral duty. By helping them we are helping ourselves. This is an opportunity for Europe to regain confidence in itself with the help of those â€œnew Europeansâ€ who are striving to catch up with modernity and normality. â€” International Herald Tribune