NEWS BRIEFS

EP recommends Slovakia become integration front-runner

The European Parliament in Brussels adopted a resolution on December 3 recommending the inclusion of Slovakia among the frontrunners for membership in the European Union. The EP recommended beginning intensive talks on joining the European Union after the EU summit in Germany in June, 1999.

In the resolution, Euro-deputies asked the European Commission and the European Council to add a supplement to their November 4 evaluation report on Slovakia that would reflect the pro-integration efforts of the new cabinet of Premier Mikuláš Dzurinda.

The European Commission, the EU's supreme body, gathered on December 11 in Vienna. Slovak diplomats have established hot lines with the EP and EU countries to pressure them into re-evaluating Slovakia's status.

Peter Weiss, chairman of the Slovak Parliamentary Foreign Committee, said that the resolution was a clear signal that that Slovakia's image has radically changed since September's elections. He emphasized the positive work of Jan Marinus Wiersma, the EP's representative for Slovakia.

"The European Parliament, which raised many objections to political developments in Slovakia, has changed its opinion and is putting political pressure on the European Commission," Weiss said. He added that the EC is hesitating to comply with Slovakia's requirement to be reevaluated in the spring and then put among the frontrunners for the EU membership at the European Council sitting in Cologne in June 1999.

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