Enlargement of European Economic Area hits a snag

Liechtenstein on Tuesday blocked the signing of an agreement on the enlargement of the European Economic Area (EEA) due to a longstanding property dispute with the countries of the former Czechoslovakia, news wire TASR reported.

The dispute could delay enlargement of the EEA to include the ten countries acceding to the European Union, a process that requires ratification by all EEA member countries.

Slovakia, one of the future EU members, is earmarked for an annual membership payment of €14 million to the EEA.

Enlargement of the EEA, formed by the 15 current members of the EU, plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, is due to coincide with the EU enlargement planned for May 1, 2004.

The principality of Liechtenstein is claiming compensation for property the Liechtenstein family owned in Moravia (Czech Republic) in the 20th century, and which was confiscated after both world wars.

All 25 current and future EU members, including Slovakia, have signed the deal on EEA enlargement. Liechtenstein's decision was joined by Norway and Iceland on the principle of solidarity.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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