The European Union gained two more member states on 01 January 2007 with the accession of Romania and Bulgaria, making a historic New Year for the two nations.
Huge celebrations were held in both countries to usher in a new chapter in their history, seventeen years after the fall of communism.
The European Union now has 27 member states and over half a billion people, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea.
Romania and Bulgaria applied for EU membership in 1995 and began formal accession talks in February 2000.
“It was hard, but we arrived at the end of the road. It is the road of our future. It is the road of our joy,” said Romania’s President Traian Basescu.
“But let’s make it clear, our future success as a nation depends not on European funds and resources, but on our own work,” he added.
Foreign ministers of Germany, Denmark, Austria and Hungary, who were in Bucharest, wished Romanian citizens a happy new year.
In the United Kingdom, Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said that Britain stands to benefit from the accession of Romania and Bulgaria.