NEWS BRIEFS

PM Dzurinda meets with EC Chairman Roman Prodi

Slovak Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda met European Commission Chairman Roman Prodi on November 23 in Brussels to discuss Slovakia's European Union ambitions. Dzurinda later told journalists that Slovakia was on track to fulfil all EU conditions by the year 2002.

"I told Prodi that Slovakia will be able to start talks concerning 15 chapters [of the aquis communitaire] as early as this year," Dzurinda said, adding that the meeting in Brussels brought Slovakia "one step closer" to EU entrance together with the other Visegrad 4 countries of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic.

Dzurinda discussed Austrian objections to the decision of the Slovak government to shut down two blocks of the Jaslovské Bohunice nuclear power plant sometime between 2006 and 2008. The Slovak PM reiterated that this date was non-negotiable, but said that Slovakia would remain open to holding further talks with Austria.

Prodi positively evaluated Slovakia's progress towards EU acceptance, saying that he could see no insurmountable barriers. "I understand how important it is for your country to start accession talks," Prodi said. "There is a will for fast progress on both sides."

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