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Thursday, September 30, 1999 Published at 12:23 GMT 13:23 UK

World: Europe

German Chancellor urges faster EU enlargement

The German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder has said that the European Union should be ready to accept new members by the year 2003.

Mr Schroeder was speaking at a joint press conference with the Czech Prime Minister, Milos Zeman, during a one-day visit to Prague. On Wednesday, the EU enlargement commissioner, Guenter Verheugen, said he would welcome the first wave of new members in 2004. Mr Schroeder is in the Czech Republic to mark the tenth anniversary of the day when East Germany's communist leaders allowed some four-thousand of their citizens sheltering in the West German embassy in Prague to leave for the West.

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