The EU enlargement is important for Sweden. Sweden has given strong support to the enlargement process since its initiation. Enlargement makes it possible to unite Europe after decades of separation into east and west. The Swedish Government considers that an enlarged Union presents a unique opportunity to create peace and security in Europe which will lead to political, economic and environmental advantages for all the countries involved.
A larger Union also means greater opportunities to develop a safer and more secure existence for EU citizens. With more members, the EU will be in a better position to solve common problems and, for example, fight international organised crime and human trafficking. The environment is another clear example of an area in which an enlarged EU will be able to cooperate. Enlargement has already generated considerable investment in environmental rehabilitation in Eastern and Central Europe.
Membership of the EU will contribute to continued social and economic development of the new member countries. Over the next twenty years, their economies have the potential to expand by six or seven per cent annually. This will also benefit Sweden by creating greater opportunities for trade and business. The enlargement in 2004 means that the EUs internal market will expand by another 75 million inhabitants, thus forming a common market for over 450 million people.
Enlargement also means that the EUs interface vis-ā-vis the rest of the world will be extended. The borders of the Union will shift eastward and the EU will acquire new neighbours. This will enhance opportunities for close contacts and cooperation with a greater number of countries. With more members, the EU may be able to play a greater role in foreign policy, development assistance and trade.