Swedish Presidency wants to set EU enlargement dates at Gothenburg Summit and allow participation of non-Member States in 2004 European election
Not all Member States agree that the EU should commit to a firm timetable at a time when it is still not clear what course negotiations on agriculture and regional policy will take. Both issues represent a huge cost to the EU budget, therefore the Member States insist that regional subsidies should be phased in gradually for the new members. The EU also stated that direct payments to eastern European farmers should be withheld because there is no need for loss of income substitution in Central and Eastern Europe where farm produce prices are likely to rise rather than fall.
The Swedish Presidency of the EU argues that clear timetables would maintain the pace of the enlargement process and reassure the candidate countries that the EU is willing to expand at the earliest possible date. Several other Member States believe that the Union’s intention was stated clearly enough at the Nice Summit in December 2000, when the fifteen leaders adopted a “road map” for completing the accession negotiations by the end of 2002. The Nice Summit also declared that the most advanced candidates could participate in the European Parliament elections in 2004.