On 1 May 2004, the Czech Republic formally joined the European Union (EU),1 together with seven other former communist countries from Central and Eastern Europe2 and the Mediterranean island states of Malta and Cyprus. For the Czech Republic and the other Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs), EU membership marked the end of an almost 15-year effort to “return to Europe,” after more than four decades of communist rule and Soviet domination. In the process, the Czech state and society were significantly transformed by integration into the European (and broader global) economy and the institutional and policy changes required to join the EU and other Western institutions. However, in many ways EU accession marked not the end but a beginning, for as a member state the Czech Republic continues to be shaped by the EU, while along with other member states it seeks to influence EU policymaking and the Union’s future development.