Preparations for granting EU membership to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the EU (CEEC) continued. The Commissioner for Agriculture presented a strategic paper on agriculture to the European Council in Madrid in December 1995. This paper estimates the costs of the Common Agricultural Policy for all 10 CEEC countries at ECU 9 billion in the year 2000, at ECU 12.2 billion in 2010. The exclusion of compensation payments reduces the costs to ECU 3 billion. According to the Commission's estimates, the Eastern enlargement will not be a financial burden to the structural funds. One reform of the structural funds being considered is the introduction of ceilings for payments, measured in terms of GDP of the receiving country. Some deliberations on how to include the CEEC into the exchange rate mechanism of the EU (EMS II) have been set out. The European Council has charged the Commission in Madrid in December 1995 to work out a position (avis) regarding the membership applications from the Central and Eastern European countries and to present the following documents: a basic paper on Eastern enlargement, a detailed analysis of methods appropriate for the EU budget after the year 1999, and an analysis of possible transition rules. Negotiations with the CEEC are to start at the same time as those with Cyprus and Malta (i.e., six months after the end of the Intergovernmental Conference). On April 17, 1996, the European Parliament approved the "Oostlander" report, which supports EU membership of the candidates in Central and Eastern Europe. On June 25, 1996, the EU Council of Ministers proposed the introduction of a pan-European cumulation, an important step towards overcoming technical barriers in Europe. On July 10, 1996, the Europe agreement with Slovenia was signed, an agreement that has long been blocked by Italy. The interim agreement will come into effect at the beginning of 1997. On the same day, Slovenia applied for membership in the EU. Thus, the EU has signed Europe agreements with 10 Central and Eastern European countries, all of which have also applied for membership in the EU. Many studies have maintained that the first phase of Eastern enlargement (for about four countries) could be realized in the year 2003 or at the beginning of 2004. A working party instituted by Austria's government evaluated Austria's interests as follows: "In sum, the advantages which can be expected for Austria (from the Eastern enlargement), especially from our neighbors' accession to the EU, will clearly dominate the disadvantages."
Osteuropa auf dem Weg in die EU; Eastern Europe on the Way into the EU
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