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Slovakia: EU Hails Referendum Results

Brussels, 17 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The European Commission has congratulated Slovakia after better than nine out of 10 voters in the Central European country backed entry into the EU in a two-day national referendum. In a written statement, the EU's executive arm welcomed what it said was the "overwhelming support" shown by Slovak voters to entry into the bloc.

Slovakia's TASR news agency said results of the Friday and Saturday vote showed 92.7 percent of voters in favor of joining the EU. Around 52 percent of Slovakia's 4.2 million registered voters took part in the referendum.

Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda announced the outcome of the vote at a public meeting in Bratislava: "The referendum is valid. An absolute majority of Slovak citizens have said 'yes' to Slovakia's entry into the European Union."

Slovakia is to join the EU in May 2004. It was the fifth EU candidate state to vote in favor of accession since March, following referendums in Lithuania, Malta, Hungary, and Slovenia.