Enlargement of the Agency on course for 2001
On 10 July 2000 the second round of negotiations on enlargement of the Agency took place in the European Commission in Brussels. DG Environment led the process. All thirteen candidate countries attended the meeting, namely the ten PHARE accession countries, Malta, Cyprus and Turkey. The Executive Director represented the Agency.
The outcome of the meeting was very positive and enlargement of the EEA looks to become a reality in 2001, as planned.
All candidate countries responded positively to the draft agreements that had been presented at the first meeting on 27 March. Most of the comments made were either on clarifications or procedural matters. Minor amendments to the individual agreements were made, but only on technical grounds.
As a result of the negotiations, there are now agreed texts for agreements with eleven countries. The formal agreements can now be prepared for signature and subsequent ratification. For technical reasons Poland and Lithuania are not yet quite ready but it should be possible to resolve the outstanding issues shortly. The Commission should therefore be able to include all applicant countries in the proposal to be approved by the Council, which is planned for the Foreign Affairs Council scheduled for October. The French Presidency promised support for this process in the coming period.