Estonian Government Approves EU Entry Treaty

Estonia's new government yesterday approved a treaty on entry into the EU. The government's press office told Rosbalt that the treaty between existing EU members and candidate countries sets out the terms on which Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Malta, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia will join the Union. Candidate countries have agreed to sign the treaty today at a summit in Athens.

The document, which contains 5,000 pages, will be signed in all the EU's official languages, and also in the languages of the candidate countries. The treaty will be signed on Estonia's behalf by President Arnold Ruutel and Foreign Minister Kristina Ojuland.

Estonia will decide whether or not to join the EU in a referendum on September 14, 2003. If Estonians vote 'yes', the treaty will come into force on May 1, 2004.