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EU: President Says Not All Eastern Candidates Ready

Prague, 4 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - The European Union's Luxembourg Presidency says that not all 10 Central and East European candidate nations are ready for membership.

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters late yesterday that the EU would certainly tell some of the eastern candidate nations they were still ineligible to begin membership talks.

Juncker spoke after meeting with EU Executive Commission Chairman Jacques Santer, his predecessor as Prime Minister.

In 12 days, Santer is scheduled to make public the Commission's opinions on which countries are ready to begin EU membership talks. The final selection will be made by the Union's 15 member states at a Luxembourg summit in December. Talks with eligible candidates are due to begin early next year.

Luxembourg took over the EU's revolving six-month presidency from the Netherlands earlier this week.