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EU: Enlargement Summit Starts

Athens, 16 April 2003 (RFE/RL) -- European Union leaders today started a two-day summit in Athens, during which 10 nations will sign accession treaties into the union. Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Estonia, and Latvia, plus Cyprus and Malta, will sign their EU membership treaties at a signing ceremony at the historic Acropolis today. The countries will formally join the EU in May 2004.

Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, whose country holds the rotating EU Presidency, said in a statement that an enlarged EU "guarantees a future of peace, stability, and prosperity for its members and neighbors."

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expected to meet with EU leaders during the summit for talks on a possible role for the United Nations in the future of Iraq.