DEPUTY prime minister for European integration Pál Csáky said he is not considering the possibility that the May 16-17 referendum on European Union membership will not be successful.
In Košice on April 29 to attend a regional conference for the referendum campaign, he told journalists: "I expect the referendum to be successful, and we must do what it takes to ensure that."
He dismissed as "counterproductive" criticism from opposition parties that he has failed in his responsibilities for the campaign, adding that it was based on "groundless information."
According to him, undecided voters are most widespread among people living in eastern Slovakia, and among supporters of the opposition parties the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, Smer, and the Communist Party, as well as supporters of the ruling coalition's Christian Democrats and Hungarian Coalition Party.
Csáky promised that the government would train 400 new experts to help prepare high-quality projects for better spending of EU structural funds.
From September, the government will simulate the situation of EU membership: assessing and testing particular projects in order to remove possible shortcomings before EU entry the following May, the deputy prime minister said.
He assured journalists that underdeveloped eastern Slovakia met the criteria for receiving 75 percent of EU funds, adding that this should guarantee increased spending on its development.
Košice region deputy governor Michal Ilka said the reason for low attendance at the conference - only half of the 120 people invited turned up - reflected the fact that the region had so far received only a small share of EU funds.
The regional authority is trying to improve the quality of the preparation of related projects, and has established the Košice Regional Agency for this purpose, he added.
5. May 2003 at 0:00