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Hungary is to be ready to join the EU in 2004

Although the European Commission's report says that Hungary will be ready for admission to the EU in 2004, the generally positive assessment was dampened by criticism primarily regarding corruption, obstacles to the social integration of Roma, and a lack of institutions needed to receive EU subsidies, the local media observed.

Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs said that it shows great headway that Hungary was not "warned" on any subjects. He pointed out that the report urges Hungary to reach an agreement on implementing the controversial Status Law with neighbouring Romania and Slovakia.

For his part, Jozsef Szajer, leader of the opposition FIDESZ party's foreign affairs section, said the previous government led the country to the threshold of the EU and it is now up to the Socialist-Free Democrat government to represent national interests in the final stage of accession negotiations.

(NewsBase 14.x.02)

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