After a year of continued negotiations, historic signings and plenty of smiling handshake photo ops, ten Eastern European and Mediterranean countries will officially join the European Union in May 2004.
The planned 40 billion euro expansion is four years in the making and will bump Europe's borders as far as Russia in the north, Ukraine in the East and onto the Middle East's doorstep in the south.
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Hungary and Malta have satisfied enough European Union criteria to be admitted to was until now been Western Europe's most exclusive club. The focus now turns not only to practical matters such as adding more seats to the European Parliament in Strasbourgs but also to working out ideological differences on Europe's draft constitution.
DW-WORLD has compiled a dossier of reports culled from "Opening Europe," a multimedia European expansion project undertaken by DW-ONLINE, DW-TV, DW-RADIO and the European Union.