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EU: Separate Meetings With Hungary And Poland Expected

Luxembourg, 29 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - European Union (EU) Foreign Ministers, meeting in Luxembourg today and tomorrow, have decided to hold separate meetings with Poland and Hungary. Our Brussels correspondent reports Wednesday's meetings were confirmed yesterday by top EU officials, after it was decided Poland had made a sufficient concession on citrus fruit imports.

EU officials have been pressing Poland for several weeks to relax its tough import-tax regime against citrus fruit -- a regime the EU, and especially it citrus-growing member states, Spain and Italy, consider discriminatory.

With this dispute out of the way, other trade issues are expected to dominate the agenda Wednesday, in particular, cars and trucks, and Poland's special arrangements with Daewoo of Korea.

The EU-Hungary meeting will note that Budapest has agreed to abolish discriminatory tariffs against citrus fruits, effective at the end of the year. The EU also seeks assurances on Hungary phasing out a general import surcharge by July 1 this year.

The EU is expected warmly to welcome the entry into force of Hungary's treaties with Romania and Slovakia.

At a Wednesday dinner, EU Ministers and representatives of Poland and Hungary are to exchange views on international political questions, such as Russia, Belarus, Albania and the former Yugoslavia.

At today's meeting EU Foreign Ministers focus on relations with former Yugoslavia, Albania and Belarus.

Our correspondent reports today's meeting is likely to restore trade preferences to the Federation Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia, Montenegro) -- but on the condition that the Belgrade Government make specific progress toward expanding democracy and resolving the dispute over Kosovo.

The EU has already restored trade preferences to Bosnia, Slovenia, Macedonia and Croatia. A decision to restore them to rump Yugoslavia would amount to a virtual restoration of trade conditions before the wars in former Yugoslavia.

The EU foreign ministers are also expected to discuss economic and security aid to Albania, with the aim of supporting the country's elections planned for the end of June.

On Belarus, our correspondents says today's meeting is likely to discuss a pledge by Minsk to enter into talks on respect for human rights and media independence.