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THE WEEK AHEAD

BRUSSELS : EU Meets on Access

March 22, 1994

The European Union's executive commission meets here Wednesday to confront one of the Continent's most important long-term challenges: how to facilitate the integration of the fragile new democracies in the former Communist eastern countries into the developed markets of the 12 West European countries.

The test for the affluent western members of the EU will be their willingness to throw open their own highly protected markets in agriculture, steel, textiles and other politically sensitive areas.

Relatively advanced post-Communist economies such as those in Poland, Hungary and the Czech republic are pressing for more market access.

They also want full EU membership far sooner than the union's western leaders foresee. The western countries speak vaguely about admission in the year 2000.

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