|EU Membership Meeting|
The foreign ministers from 10 countries aspiring to join the European Union - Poland, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Slovakia, and Slovenia - met in Warsaw on May 22 and adopted a joint statement urging the EU to treat them as equal members when they are admitted, possibly as soon as 2004. The candidate countries demanded that all provisions of the Common Agricultural Policy be extended equally to farmers in both existing and future EU members. The ministers insisted that new members not be forced into being net contributors to the EU budget following expansion. The statement also stresses that any transition periods placed on the budget and farm sectors should not extend beyond the current EU budget, which runs out in 2006.