Above:  During the “European Congress“, organized by the Austrian Ministry of European and International Affairs in Vienna at the end of May 2009, white doves of peace are released from the heart of Vienna’s first district to symbolize EUnification as a grand peace project. The people (from left to right) are Tamas Horvath (the coordinator of the 1989 commemorations in the Hungarian Foreign Ministry), Jan Koukal (Czech ambassador in Vienna), Mikolaj Dowgielewicz (Polish Secretary of State), Wladyslaw Bartoszewski (former Polish ambassador to Austria and foreign minister), Heinz Fischer (Austrian President), Michael Spindelegger (Austrian Foreign Minister) Peter Balazs (Hungarian Foreign Minister), Dragoljuba Bencina (Slovenian State Secretary).

Above: During the “European Congress“, organized by the Austrian Ministry of European and International Affairs in Vienna at the end of May 2009, white doves of peace are released from the heart of Vienna’s first district to symbolize EUnification as a grand peace project. The people (from left to right) are Tamas Horvath (the coordinator of the 1989 commemorations in the Hungarian Foreign Ministry), Jan Koukal (Czech ambassador in Vienna), Mikolaj Dowgielewicz (Polish Secretary of State), Wladyslaw Bartoszewski (former Polish ambassador to Austria and foreign minister), Heinz Fischer (Austrian President), Michael Spindelegger (Austrian Foreign Minister) Peter Balazs (Hungarian Foreign Minister), Dragoljuba Bencina (Slovenian State Secretary).

Following the end of the Cold War, Austria, Finland and Sweden joined the European Union in 1995, bringing the number of member states  from 12 to 15. The former Warsaw Pact members Poland, Hungary,  and the Czech Republic joined the Western defense pact NATO in 1999.

On May 1, 2004, they joined the European Union as well, along with Slovakia, Slovenia, and the Baltic States, and the Mediterranean island nations of Malta and Cyprus. On January 1, 2007, Bulgaria and Romania acceded to the EU as well, making the European Union a political entity of 27 states at the present time.

Most EU members (along with Norway and Switzerland) are also members of the Schengen Agreements, which suspended frontier controls and facilitated the free movement of EU citizens. Croatia, Macedonia and Turkey are negotiating to enter the European Union also, while other European countries have embarked  on the complex process of negotiating EU membership.

During Austria’s EU Presidency in the first half of 2006, a U.S. – European Union Summit was staged in Vienna on June 21. Europe, which had been so long divided during the Cold War, has been reunited by way of the continuing EU-enlargement process.

In 2009, the historical memory of the revolutions  of 1989 and the uniting of Europe after the end of the Cold War has been invoked all across Central Europe. In Austria – the “eastern outpost”  of Western Europe during the post-Yalta Cold War division of the continent  – the opening of the iron curtain along its borders 20 years ago is commemorated in numerous conferences, exhibits, and special events.

 

 Ambassadors of the ten new EU member states unveil the ‘Partner of all nations’ table, a memorial with ten granite stone chairs, at the Sigmund Freud park in Vienna, in front of Votivkirche on Friday, 30 April 2004, the day before the official accession to the European Union.

Ambassadors of the ten new EU member states unveil the ‘Partner of all nations’ table, a memorial with ten granite stone chairs, at the Sigmund Freud park in Vienna, in front of Votivkirche on Friday, 30 April 2004, the day before the official accession to the European Union.

 Poster of the 2009 Lower Austrian State Exhibit “Austria – Czech Republic: Divided, Separated, United.” The exhibit covers the long and complex Austrian – Czech history and culture and intellectual life from the Middle Ages to the present. The displays are spread out through three exhibit sites close to the border – two on Austrian (Horn, Raabs) and one of Czech soil (Telc). A formidable segment of the iron curtain was also rebuilt and is on display. 

Poster of the 2009 Lower Austrian State Exhibit “Austria – Czech Republic: Divided, Separated, United.” The exhibit covers the long and complex Austrian – Czech history and culture and intellectual life from the Middle Ages to the present. The displays are spread out through three exhibit sites close to the border – two on Austrian (Horn, Raabs) and one of Czech soil (Telc). A formidable segment of the iron curtain was also rebuilt and is on display. 

 This recent poll by the European Union public opinion office “Eurobarometer” shows that the EU member states agree that EU Eastern expansion after the end of the division of Europe during the Cold War was a positive accomplishment – borders disappeared and allowed for more freedom, commerce and a higher standard of living.   SOURCE  http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/flash/fl_257_en.pdf, p.10

This recent poll by the European Union public opinion office “Eurobarometer” shows that the EU member states agree that EU Eastern expansion after the end of the division of Europe during the Cold War was a positive accomplishment – borders disappeared and allowed for more freedom, commerce and a higher standard of living.  
SOURCE http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/flash/fl_257_en.pdf, p.10