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EU Council of Ministers gives green light for Accession Treaty
2003-04-14 16:00:50

by Nicos Bellos-- Brussels, Apr 14 (CNA) - The European Council of Ministers approved today a statement giving the green light to the signing of the Accession Treaty by Cyprus and nine other states to join EU next year.

Today's decision paves the way for the signing of the Accession Treaty on April 16 in Athens, followed by the ratification of the Treaty from the national Parliaments of the 15 member states, the statement says.|

The ten acceding states, Latvia, Lithouania, Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Cyprus and Malta will become full EU members on May 1, 2004.

The accession of ten new countries to the European family, of which they share its history and cultural heritage, enables the most ambitious enlargement in the EU's history, the press release notes, adding that the enlargement constitutes the start of a new era for Europe, allowing the materialisation of the target for the European construction based on the ideals of democracy, pluralism and respect for human rights and market economy.

After the signing of the Treaty on Wednesday in Athens, the new EU members will participate as observers in every Council of Ministers meeting.

The signing ceremony will follow an informal European Council, chaired by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, in the presence of European Parliament President Pat Cox, the leaders of the ten acceding states and the leaders of the three candidate states, namely Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.


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