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Ten years ago the Czech Republic joined the European Union

On 1 May 2004 the Czech Republic became the full member of the European Union. The application for the membership was presented by the then Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Mr. Václav Klaus on 17 January 1996. Accession negotiations lasted 5 years and were concluded at the European Council meeting in Copenhagen in December 2002.

Czechoslovakia expressed the interest in the membership in the European Communities soon after the Velvet Revolution in 1989. Already in December 1990 negotiations on the Association Agreement were launched, the agreement was signed a year later. In 1993 the Association Agreement was signed also by the Czech Republic. The agreement entered into force on 1 February 1995.

The European Council in Copenhagen in June 1993 decided that associated countries of Central and Eastern Europe, if they wish so, could join the European Union. At the same time it was agreed that membership requires the candidate's ability to assume the obligations of membership, fulfillment of political and economic conditions and sufficient administrative and judicial capacity to implement the acquis communautaire.

The European Council, on the European Commission’s recommendation, decided in Luxembourg in December 1997 to invite officially 11 candidate countries to accede the EU. On behalf of the Czech Republic, the invitation was taken over by President Václav Havel and Mr. Jaroslav Šedivý, Minister of Foreign Affairs. In April 1998 the first part of the accession negotiations was launched in Brussels.  

Pre-accession process with 10 candidates including the Czech Republic was concluded at the European Council meeting in Copenhagen in December 2002. The European Council decided, in line with the European Commission’s recommendation, on the accession of ten new Member States on 1 May 2004. President Václav Klaus and Mr. Vladimír Špidla, Prime Minister, signed the Treaty of Accession on 16 April 2003 in Athens.

In the referendum, the accession of the Czech Republic to the EU was supported by 77,33 % voters.

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