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Eastern Europe: EU Must Expand Eastward

Berlin, 7 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - German President Roman Herzog and Czech President Vaclav Havel today opened a congress on Central Europe in Berlin with a call for the expansion of the European Union eastward.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Herzog said the West must accept the decision of Eastern and Central European countries to become a part of a unified Europe.

Havel said Central and Eastern European countries are not seeking EU membership only for economic reasons. He said they want to become a part of a unified Europe because they respect values like democracy, individual freedoms, the rule of law, citizens' rights and a market economy.

Also today, the Czech ambassador to Bonn, Jiri Grusa, said he expects an agreement could be reached this year on a long-delayed joint declaration with Germany.

The declaration is to reconcile differences between the two countries which have remained unresolved since the end of World War II.