President Rudolf Schuster believes Slovakia could enter the European Union sooner than Poland.
Speaking on October 23 in Vienna, Schuster said that Slovakia did not need to wait for Poland, should it be invited to join the EU before its northern neighbour. "It would be a false solidarity," he said.
Slovakia has met requirements in 20 out of 29 'chapters' (legislative areas the EU examines candidate countries on for compatibility), two more than Poland.
The Slovak President's comments were criticised by foreign policy analysts, who said they could not imagine Slovakia entering the Union sooner than Poland.
According to French political analyst Jacques Rupnik, Poland is the most important country in central and eastern Europe, both strategically and politically.
"To have more chapters closed than Poland is a reason for being very proud, but it should not give rise to illusions," Rupnik said.
He added: "I understand the irony and humour of Mr. President, but a few years ago Poland was chosen in the first round of expansion without Slovakia."
5. Nov 2001 at 0:00 | From press reports of TASR and SITA