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Monday, 21 October, 2002, 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK
Mixed feelings among EU candidates

Ireland has allowed the European Union (EU) to continue on its course towards expansion, but mixed feelings and domestic issues in candidate states are likely to throw up more obstacles along the road to membership.

In Cyprus, Ireland's endorsement of the Nice Treaty has been widely welcomed.

The managing editor of the Cyprus Mail, Alan Gathergood, says the population is eagerly awaiting EU membership.


Land in Hungary is very cheap. We are afraid that western investors will buy all the arable land up

Lajos Veraszto, Hungarian
"Clearly there's some sense of relief. There's no doubt about that," he said.

"Accession to the EU is a step the Republic wants to take to add to its own security and act as a catalyst for solving the problem in the North," he added.

Click here to see a map of EU applicants

In Hungary reservations are more widespread, says Lajos Veraszto, the director of the Dover English School.

"There are mixed feelings here," he said. "In some ways people think Hungary is going to be a backyard for the EU.

Hungarians celebrate the Ireland result
Some Hungarians were clearly delighted
"And land in Hungary is very cheap. We are afraid that western investors will buy all the arable land up."

Despite this, Mr Veraszto is enthusiastic to see his country join the EU and the single currency to fight against American economic dominance.

"We need it," he said.

"I discuss the EU with my family a lot. And we all believe we can no longer afford to be independent of it."

Ireland's Yes vote has been welcomed in Poland.

"Some of us think that Irish and Polish nationals are very close," says Mariusz Hamerski, a journalist who lives in Lublin.

"Like the Irish, we like to dance and drink. We're very open and we work hard. And like them, we've had tough times," he said.

"This will definitely help the government to join the union."


There was a feeling of satisfaction in and it could be felt throughout the news media in Malta

Professor Lino Briguglio, Maltese

But Mr Hamerski has grave doubts about joining soon. He believes Poland could lose many of its skilled workforce who will be enticed into western Europe.

And crucially Mr Hamerski says Poland needs to solve domestic problems of unemployment before joining.

Businesses in Malta breathed a sigh of relief as Ireland voted for EU enlargement, says economics professor Lino Briguglio in the tiny Mediterranean archipelago.

"Many of us in the economics field are much in favour of joining the EU. It will help Malta upgrade its production business," he said.

Despite press reports of a strong anti-EU movement in Malta, Professor Briguglio insisted that the pro-European movement was storming ahead on the island.

"There was a feeling of satisfaction in and it could be felt throughout the news media in Malta," he said.

And importantly, he added, the sanctioning of enlargement by Ireland, which is widely seen as a religious role model, has set the minds of pious Maltese at rest.

Czech banking clerk Daniel Haindl said few were surprised with the outcome in Ireland.

Despite reciting a list of potential benefits of joining the union, Mr Haindl saw membership as fraught with difficulties.

"I'm afraid of Brussels bureaucracy. I'm also afraid of that we could be treated as an inferior member of the EU," he said.



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