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Europe

EU Official: New Members Must Still Be Monitored

The European Commission's former top negotiator of EU expansion said Brussels must continue to put pressure on the new member states.

The man who negotiated enlargement on behalf of the EU says it is important to continue to keep an eye on the new member states to ensure the pressure is kept up after they join the bloc on May 1 in the areas where Brussels still has concerns. "We have to be very rigorous in the application of what they (the new member states) accepted to do," Eneko Landaburu, the European Commission's chief negotiator for enlargement from 1999-2003, said in an interview with the Euobserver. "If, for instance, there are slaughterhouses not functioning within our requirements for safety, then we will block their exports to the Union -- so they will lose being able to profit from the internal market," he explained. "If they do not use our structural funds in a good way, they will lose the money." The Spaniard highlighted two other areas where Brussels still has major concerns: "We will need to take care of their capacity to control external borders … and we will need to continue to work in order to help them to reduce and to fight corruption." "We spent a lot of money to help them to adapt. We have a design and now the plane has to fly. I am sure it will fly but there will be weakness every now and then," Landaburu said. (EUobserver.com)

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