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Friday, 8 June, 2001, 20:34 GMT 21:34 UK
EU enlargement 'goes on'
A No supporter watches as votes are counted in the Irish referendum
The No victory took Europe by surprise
Most first-wave applicant countries to membership of the European Union agree Ireland's No vote in the referendum on the Nice Treaty will not drastically impede the enlargement process.

Poland said the rejection would not harm their efforts to join the EU, as did Cyprus.

"Definitely it is not a good message, but I do not think it will harm the process of enlargement," Cyprus Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said soon after the vote.

The Cyprus Government called on the EU to do "everything necessary" to ensure the Irish decision was "overturned".

"The negative result of the referendum in Ireland should not harm such an important issue as EU enlargement. There must be a solution," said Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, the official in charge of Poland's membership bid.

'No substantial impact'

The vote will "not have a substantial impact on the enlargement process, but could influence the mood in Europe," said Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Pavel Telicka, who is the country's chief negotiator with the EU.

It would cause economic setbacks for us... if the EU were to postpone enlargement

Mihaly Varga
Hungarian Finance Minister
The Czech Republic's foreign ministry added the referendum was marked by a low turnout and pointed to opinion polls showing that 59% of Irish people supported enlargement.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi said when the first tallies in the referendum came out that a No vote would be "pretty bad" and could hurt the mood of entry talks.

He said he believed that "in the worst case scenario" some solution could still be worked out to keep the enlargement process on track.

"I do not think that it has the potential to delay entry, but the atmosphere [of accession talks] would definitely change," he said.

Economic setbacks

However, Hungary's Finance Minister Mihaly Varga said that uncertainty over EU enlargement could cause political and financial problems in candidate countries.

Mr Varga was quoted as saying the candidates had launched investments which made the entry to EU necessary for them.

"The necessary convergence point of these is EU accession," he said. "It would cause economic setbacks for us... if the EU were to postpone enlargement."

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See also:

08 Jun 01 | Europe
Ireland rejects EU expansion
06 Jun 01 | Europe
Ireland votes on EU treaty
30 Apr 01 | Euro-glossary
Nice Treaty
30 Apr 01 | Euro-glossary
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