Sweden supportive on EU expansion, but no deadline in sight

Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson, whose country now holds the rotating EU presidency, has pledged to speed up the EU expansion process. However, at a joint press briefing with the visiting Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman, the Swedish head of government said that it was premature to set a deadline for the end of accession talks and that much depended on the preparedness of individual candidate states. We believe that setting a timetable at this point could be de- motivating, the Swedish Prime Minister noted. The Czech head of government said his country was aiming for EU admission at the beginning of 2003, which meant a clean desk by the end of the previous year.