The European Commission also thanked the Czech electorate for voting "yes". "The Czech Republic takes the place it was always entitled to" said the Commission's chief representative in Prague Mr. Ramiro Cibrian. Congratulations have come from the EU Commissioner for Expansion Mr. Gunter Verheugen, from Greece which currently holds the rotating EU presidency and from representatives of the European Parliament.
Both EU members and EU candidates have congratulated the Czech Republic on making "the right decision" and "putting faith in the future of the European Union". The French Minister for European Affairs Noelle Lenoir welcomed Czechs in the EU and said that the return of the Czech Republic to Europe was excellent news for all. German officials called it " a great day for the Czech Republic" and in the Austrian capital Vienna, Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero Waldner welcomed Czechs to the EU with a few sentences in Czech.
The Czech Republic is one of ten predominantly former communist states set to join the European Union next May in a "big bang" eastward expansion. Voters in Poland, Malta, Slovenia, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovakia have already approved accession in national referenda. Estonia and Latvia are to vote in September.
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