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EU: Official Confirms Slovak Referendum Results

Bratislava, 18 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The European Union representative to Slovakia today confirmed unofficial results of a two-day referendum in which Slovak voters overwhelmingly approved EU membership. Eric van der Linden, the EU ambassador to Slovakia, said that "nearly 93 percent" of the referendum's participants voted in favour of Slovakia's inclusion in the enlarged European Union next year. He also said turnout had exceeded the critical 50 percent level.

The Slovak government planned to release official figures later today, following closure of voting last night.

In Brussels, European Commission spokeswoman Elizabeth Werner expressed pleasure at the result. "This demonstrates the strong will of the Slovak people to join the European family of democratic nations as a member of the European Union with equal rights and obligations," she said.

She also said the commission is confident Slovakia will play an important role in the development of the European integration project, and that once in the EU, Slovakia will take advantage of all the opportunities of membership in order to consolidate political stability, justice, the rule of law, and economic development.

Earlier referenda were approved by voters in Hungary, Slovenia, Malta, and Lithuania. The Czech Republic and Poland hold elections next month, while Estonia and Latvia scheduled theirs for September, Cyprus is not planning a referendum.