Czechs, Poles and Germans celebrate at the point where their countries meet - but all in their different ways.

Leszek Miller, Gerhard Schröder, Vladimír Spidla and Günter Verheugen - from right (Photo: CTK)

It hasn't all been happening in Prague this historic weekend: at the triangle where the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany meet, people are celebrating EU enlargement with all kinds of events, from concerts to bike rides. But people from the three different countries have been celebrating in different ways, as Ian Willoughby has been finding out.

Leszek Miller,  Gerhard Schröder,  Vladimír Spidla and Günter Verheugen - from right  (Photo: CTK)
"The most important thing for the new Europe is to make sure that there will never again be conflict in Europe, that war will be unthinkable."

On the very eve of EU enlargement, Helmut Kohl - for decades one of the most important figures in European politics - outlines his vision of a united Europe. The former German chancellor was speaking at the beginning of three days of celebrations at the exact point where the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland meet.

The EU enlargement celebrations are taking place on a large meadow which crosses all three borders and revelers are free to cross the short bridges between the three countries without passports, or indeed any kind of identification.

There are, however, considerable differences between the celebrations in the three countries. Things are more civilized and upmarket on the German side, where I am now, and there are TV crews at every turn. That is where most of the important guests are appearing, including on Saturday afternoon the prime ministers of all three countries, Vladimir Spidla of the Czech Republic, Poland's Leszek Miller and the German chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder.

The celebrations on the Polish side are the most lively, with rock bands and a mostly young crowd. On Friday evening it seemed like every teenager in the nearby town of Bogatynia must have been there.

Things are the most relaxed in the Czech corner of the triangle of borders; lots of families have turned out and you don't have to walk too far to reach the nearest stall selling beer.

Interestingly, there seem to be only Poles on the Polish side and only Germans on the German side. Only in the Czech are there "foreigners" in any number, Germans who are no doubt used to paying a lot less for some things, such as beer in the Czech Republic.

Perhaps one reason there is less interaction than the organizers might have hoped for is the fact that different currencies are in use in all three countries. On the Polish side on Friday evening they would accept euros, but wouldn't give you any change in the currency. All three countries will some day have the euro, though for now Czechs, Poles and Germans in the border region have on this historic weekend - been enjoying the fireworks.