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PM Peter Medgyessy reaffirms his commitment to joining EU

Prime Minister Peter Medgyessy on Monday told a Budapest meeting of Hungarian diplomats posted abroad that there might be life outside the EU, but Hungary must choose the path leading to the union, the local media reported. Medgyessy was alluding to a remark made by his predecessor, Viktor Orban, who said earlier this year that while Hungary wants to join the EU, it should not do so at any costs and it should remember that there is "life outside the EU" as well.

Medgyessy said accession talks should be conducted so as to benefit the average Hungarian after their successful completion, adding that the majority of Hungarians support joining the union. Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs told the same meeting that Hungary must concentrate on concluding the negotiations by the end of 2002 rather than worrying how many candidates will be admitted in the expansion. He also said Hungary must be granted identical rights, obligations, and competition terms as those of current EU members and that a transition period on agricultural subsidies must not extend beyond 2006.

(NewsBase 08.viii.02)

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