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Czechs Vote To Join EU

Prague, 14 June 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Final official results show 77.3 percent of voters in the Czech Republic voting "yes" on the country joining the European Union. The Czech Statistical Office said 55.2 percent of the country's voters turned out for the Friday and Saturday referendum.

Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla welcomed the result of the binding referendum, saying it clearly show that Czechs want to be part of the EU.

"These results clearly show that the Czech Republic said 'yes,' this is a result, which I think is excellent."

The European Commission has also welcomed the Czech vote, saying in a statement that the result marks a decision by Czechs to end decades of divisions in Europe and "achieve peace, stability, and prosperity" on the continent.

The Czechs become the seventh of the 10 countries due to join the EU in May 2004 to vote in favor of joining the bloc. Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Slovenia, and Slovakia have already voted "yes." The Czech vote was one of the lowest of the seven results, with more than 90 percent of voters in some countries voting to join the EU.