Brussels, October 13 (RFE/RL) - The European Commission today recommended opening European Union (EU) membership negotiations with six more aspirant countries. The six countries named are Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia, and Romania. European Commission President Romano Prodi, in an address to the European Parliament, said the six states now meet the necessary criteria to begin negotiations on joining the EU. The six countries named today join Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Cyprus, which have already begun lengthy accession negotiations.
In addition, the European Commission recommended that Turkey be given candidate status. But the Commission said no negotiations with Ankara on membership will be open at this time.
Later today, the European Commission will release its detailed annual reports on the progress of candidate members towards accession.
The reports, from the EU's Executive Commission, will detail how well the 10 Central and East European aspirants, plus Malta and Cyprus, are fulfilling Brussels' requirements for entry.