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EU: Annual Reports Praise, Criticize Candidates

Brussels, 8 November 2000 (RFE/RL) - The European Union's Executive Commission is today releasing its annual reports on progress towards accession of candidate countries from Eastern Europe. Drafts obtained by RFE/RL show the commission has general praise for most countries. But it also raises specific problems in each. On Hungary, it says corruption remains a problem and more needs to be done to help the Romany minority. Estonia needs to implement a language law to protect its Russian-speaking minority, and do more to fight corruption and crime. Latvia should improve its application of EU laws and bolster its administrative structures. Lithuania needs to maintain fiscal discipline and keep its current account deficit under control.

On Bulgaria, the EU says that country is not yet able to cope with competitive pressure and market forces in the medium term, and corruption is "very serious."

Poland too needs to counter corruption and organized crime. The EU is concerned by discrimination against Roma in Romania, and the country does not yet have a functioning market economy. Slovakia's reform process is hindered by dissension within the ruling coalition. Turkey is assessed as having a slow pace towards key institutional reforms.

The Czech Republic wins general praise from the EU Commission, which says in its report that it has made better progress this year than last year, when it was warned it was slipping behind other front-runners. The report says the economy has improved and it is doing better at adopting EU legislation.