Tallinn, 16 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - Estonia today praised a recommendation by the European Union Commission for the Baltic state to be among five Central European countries invited to start EU entry talks early next year. Others recommended for the talks eare Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia.
Estonian Prime Minister Mart Siimann said the recommendation gives Tallinn "a new impulse" to meet targets for EU entry. Meanwhile, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek is meeting in Bonn today with Chancellor Helmut Kohl in a bid to get stronger backing from Germany.
In Budapest, Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn said he hopes EU leaders will vote to bring Hungary into the Union before the end of the year 2000.
The 15-nation EU has not set any date for admitting new members, but analysts say the Union is unlikely to admit new states until after 2002. In Strasborg today, Commission President Jacques Santer urged Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia and Lithuania to persevere with their membership drive, despite rejection for first-round membership.
Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea said today that his country is searching for policies that can pave the wave for economic integration.
In London today, British foreign secretary Robin Cook welcomed news of the recommendations. But Cook said planned farm spending cuts related to future expansion did not go far enough. He esaid reform of the EU agricultural budget is a top priority if enlargement is to be affordable and successful.