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On 1 May 2004, the European Union welcomes 10 new members: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia.

Before they enter the EU the 10 acceding countries have to adopt the common rules and standards that make up the body of EU law. The EU has assisted these countries in taking on EU laws and provides financial assistance to improve their infrastructure and economy.

Food safety has a high priority in the EU and has played an important role in the accession preparations. The new Member States need to ensure that they apply all food safety rules and that they have the appropriate control mechanisms in place.

Enlargement will extend a common set of rules to the new members raising the overall level of food safety. Consumers must have the guarantee that only safe food will circulate freely in the enlarged Union.

Aligning national law to the EU food safety rules is a demanding task for many of the acceding countries. The EU gives financial assistance to cope with implementing the requirements ahead of accession and monitors developments.

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You may like to consult the EU enlargement: Questions and Answers on food safety issues.

The EU's enlargement site contains more information about the EU's expansion.

Enlargement key documents

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