Budapest, 17 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - Hungarian press reports, citing the European Union (EU) committee working on accession agreements, say Hungary and the Czech Republic have made the most thorough preparation for anticipated European Union membership. The reports also cite the committee as saying Hungary and the Czech Republic are followed closely by Estonia, and then comes Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia. The EU committee was also reported to have warned Budapest that the Hungarian market will lose its protection by 2002, when most existing import duties disappear. Nearly 60 percent of Hungary's total imports come from the EU.
Freedom House Gives Hungary, Czech Republic Top Marks
The American human rights-monitoring organization Freedom House says, in its latest survey of Central and Eastern Europe, that Hungary and the Czech Republic lead the region in compliance with political, economic and civil rights. The report places Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia among a group of "liberal democracies," with a stable democratic system and functioning market economies. Most of those listed in the survey as "transitional countries" are those that have attained mixed results in transformation, such as most CIS countries, as well as Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovakia. The Freedom House report is cited in Hungarian press reports.