Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

Slovaks leap forward in EU entry race

Slovakia May 17 closed a further four 'chapters' of the European Union's acquis communautaire - a document laying out legislative changes prospective members must make in 29 areas - prompting Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda to declare the country on an accession par with its regional neighbours, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic.
Although not having opened as many chapters as its three neighbours, by finishing negotiations on telecom and IT, social policy and employment, commercial law and free provision of services, Slovakia now stands ahead of the Czechs (15) and Poles (15), but behind Hungary (18) with 16 of 29 EU chapters closed. Slovakia has begun negotiations in another eight, but has not touched five.
Slovakia's chief negotiator for EU accession Ján Figeľ said he was confident the remaining chapters could be opened by June, but warned Bratislava could not take relax its EU entry efforts.

Slovakia May 17 closed a further four 'chapters' of the European Union's acquis communautaire - a document laying out legislative changes prospective members must make in 29 areas - prompting Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda to declare the country on an accession par with its regional neighbours, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic.

Although not having opened as many chapters as its three neighbours, by finishing negotiations on telecom and IT, social policy and employment, commercial law and free provision of services, Slovakia now stands ahead of the Czechs (15) and Poles (15), but behind Hungary (18) with 16 of 29 EU chapters closed. Slovakia has begun negotiations in another eight, but has not touched five.

Slovakia's chief negotiator for EU accession Ján Figeľ said he was confident the remaining chapters could be opened by June, but warned Bratislava could not take relax its EU entry efforts.

"We shouldn't overestimate this achievement. On the contrary, we must continue to pass quality legislation," said Figeľ.

The latest closures confirm that Slovakia has caught up with its neighbours in the race to join the 15-member bloc, said EU representatives.

Slovakia was relegated to the EU membership sidelines after the EU's 1997 Luxembourg Summit, at which six countries, including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, were invited to enter negotiations on accession. Slovakia was left out because of concerns over the autocratic leadership of then-Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar.

But after the Milukáš Dzurinda government took over in 1998, Slovakia received an invitation to begin entry talks at the Helsinki Summit in December 1999, and since starting negotiations in February 2000 has made rapid progress in catching up with its three neighbours.

Top stories

In praise of concrete

It was once notorious for its drab tower blocks and urban crime, but Petržalka now epitomises modern Slovakia.

Petržalka is the epitome of communist-era architecture.

Slow down, fashion

Most people are unaware that buying too many clothes too harms the environment.

In shallow waters, experts are expendable

Mihál says that it is Sulík, the man whom his political opponents mocked for having a calculator for a brain, who “is pulling the party out of liberal waters and towards somewhere completely different”.

Richard Sulík is a man of slang.

Blog: Exploring 20th century military sites in Bratislava

It seems to be the fate of military sites and objects in Bratislava that none of them were ever used for the purposes they were built for - cavernas from WWI, bunkers from WWII, nuclear shelters or the anti-aircraft…

One nuclear shelter with a capacity for several hundred people now serves as a music club with suitable name Subclub (formerly U-club).