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Verheugen expects Commission report on Cyprus to be positive
2002-09-30 15:39:08

By Nicos Bellos -- Brussels, Sep 30 (CNA) -- A European Union progress report on Cyprus is set to confirm that this applicant country meets the political as well as the economic criteria for accession, according to EU enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen.

Speaking after a meeting in Brussels with Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, the German Commissioner said the EU would stick to the timetable it has set out on membership talks and enlargement.|

The next step in this timetable, he said, will be the publication of the Commission's annual progress reports on October 9 on all applicant countries.

At the meeting, Verheugen and Kasoulides reviewed developments in the accession negotiations and in the UN-led peace effort to find a negotiated settlement to the Cyprus problem.

According to Verheugen, the progress report on Cyprus will be positive and will confirm that the island meets the political and economic criteria for membership.

He said the European Council in late October in Brussels is expected to invite the ten most advanced applicant countries to conclude their membership talks by the December summit, in December.

Verheugen added that Cyprus will be judged like all other applicant countries on the basis of its achievements and progress in the accession negotiations without any distinction.

Cyprus, which opened accession negotiations with the EU in 1998, has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

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