EU candidates told to speed up accession reforms
The EU's enlargement chief said today that there was "good reason" to believe that 10 new countries would have the chance to join in 2004 but called on them to accelerate reforms to cope with the enforcement of EU laws and regulations.
The EU Enlargement Commissioner Mr Guenter Verheugen said the countries needed to realise that negotiations "represent the tip of the iceberg" and that the new countries would be expected to enforce European Union regulations once they joined.
Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia are all hoping to be included in the group, which will then be in a position to join the EU in 2004.
Mr Verheugen said there was "good reason" to believe that the 10 countries would make the grade administratively and judicially.
Bulgaria and Romania hope to wrap up EU membership talks in 2007 while Turkey has yet to formally open talks due to concerns in Brussels over its observance of human rights.