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EU DOSSIER

  • 2004-12-15
Lithuanians are among the most optimistic when it comes to EU membership, a survey has shown. The results of the Eurobarometer survey, conducted in all member states in October and November, showed that Lithuania ranks sixth among the 25 members and first among the 10 newcomers in support for EU membership. Some 69 percent of Lithuanians hold a positive opinion of union membership, while 22 percent have a neutral and 6 percent a negative opinion.

Luxembourg has most supporters of EU membership of all 25 EU member-states. As many as 85 percent of respondents are happy with the country's membership in the EU. The survey also showed that 52 percent of Estonians and 40 percent of Latvians polled favor membership.

According to the survey, unemployment is a dominant concern in the EU states. Some 46 percent of citizens of the old member states and 62 percent of residents of newcomers are concerned about jobs. The poll also demonstrated a divergence of opinions on the U.S.A.'s foreign policy. Only 39 percent of Europeans favor the United States' role in the war against terrorism, as compared with 54 percent in August 2002.

Latvia has not yet adapted requirements of some 90 EU directives, and the government should soon receive a letter from the commission enumerating all the shortcomings of the country's legislation, European Affairs Bureau head Sanita Pavluta-Deslandes said this week. She noted that Latvia was not the only new union member that has failed to incorporate all the directives into law, nor was it the worst. She told a government meeting on Dec. 14 that failure to do so may result in legal proceedings against Latvia.

Latvia should have amended all its national laws in accordance with EU directives prior to May 1, 2004.

Lithuania will receive 13 million euros from the European Commission for further implementation of Kaliningrad transit procedures for this year, the Interior Ministry said. Minister Virgilijus Bulovas said that the funds would go toward improving the existing transit program -consular work, printing passport, border services, training of border guards. The full amount of funding the transit system is 40 million euros for the 2004-2006 period.

According to the Irish social welfare department, 1,475 people have gone to work in Ireland since EU enlargement in May. The number of Lithuanians in this regard is 10,557, Latvians 5,257, Slovakians 4,189, Czechs 2,871 and Hungarians 1,614. A spokesman for the department said that before enlargement it had been feared that hundreds of thousands of East Europeans would come to Ireland looking for work. Not only has that proven untrue, but statistics show that the Irish have not suffered as a result of the influx from new member countries.

By the third week of November, 49,710 people from the 10 new EU countries had gone to work in the EU, with nearly half of them - or 23,552 - from Poland, The Irish Times reported.