20 years together in European Union

Fifth enlargement of European Union was the biggest one. On 1 May 2004, the citizens of Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia became citizens of the EU.

Six of the Member States, which are celebarting 20th anniversary of joining the EU are members of CELBET: Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia.


From that day,  European Union became stronger and greater in economic, social, cultural and security meaning. The external eastern border of EU became longer, stretching from North to South. It has also beneficially influenced the changes within Customs Administrations of EU Member States.

Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia’s accession a few years later has made Union stronger and external border longer.


The past two decades was the time of high speed of remarkable changes in Customs. New Member States brought into the European family new human resources, ideas and solutions which have been crucial pillars of the security and safety level. It helped to build efficient single market but also to clamp down on cross border crime.

With the 2004 enlargement, Customs Administrations have experienced significant and tangible cooperation benefits.  Over the past 20 years, strong Customs international relations have been built and common initiatives have been launched. It was a milestone in developing common idea of “acting as one” and visibly strengthened the operational cooperation. CELBET is one of the most meaningful, practical and operational Customs initiatives, resulting from enlargement of the EU.