EU candidates welcome Danish negotiation package

The individual compromise negotiation packages proposed by the Danish Presidency for the 10 candidate countries due to accede in 2004 include improved agricultural and budgetary offers.

On 27 November, the first-wave EU accession candidates
welcomed the compromise negotiation packages presented by the
Danish Presidency. The proposal provides “increased flexibility and
other improvements from the agricultural and budgetary points of
view,” Jan Figel, Slovak chief negotiator, was quoted as saying.

The package represents the Presidency’s final
negotiation offer to the candidate countries, covering all
outstanding issues. In particular, the proposal:

  • confirms the 23 billion euro budget (agreeed to at the Brussels
    Summit) from structural and cohesion funds to be committed for new
    Member States;
  • offers support for the decommissioning of nuclear power plants,
    improving border control and 1 billion euros as a one-off budgetary
  • as regards the financial package for agriculture, it approves
    national top-ups during the phasing-in period of direct aids: by
    2006, candidates would be allowed to raise the amount to 40 per
    cent from their national budgets or by shifting other EU funds (see
    initial offer:
    EURACTIV 25 October 2002);
  • from 2007, top-ups could be increased by 10 per cent every year
    above the applicable percentages until reaching 100 per cent in
  • as regards agricultural quotas on which subsidies are assessed,
    the Presidency proposes increased levels for products, such as milk
    and wheat;
  • includes two additional seats in the European Parliament for
    Hungary and the Czech Republic.

By joining on 1 May 2004, four months later the
the original plan, candidate countries automatically save one-third
of their annual contribution due for 2004.

Following the presentation of the proposal to EU
Member States on 25 November and to candidate countries a day
later, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen now intends to
tour the EU to gain support for the package.

The Presidency aims at concluding negotiations
with the 10 candidates at foreign ministers level on 9-10 December.
In accordance with the decision made at the Brussels European
Council (24-25 October), the EU would then formally conclude
accession negotiations with 10 countries at the Copenhagen Council
on 12-13 December and sign the Accession Treaty in Athens in April


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