A firm perspective of full EC membership within a reasonable time-scale is essential if they are to retain political support for the economic reforms needed to join. Some claim that this could take 10 to 20 years. But even if this were so, there is no reason why full political membership could not be promised before the end of this decade, subject to appropriately lengthy transitional periods for economic adjustment after they join.
All new entrants into the EC, including the UK, enjoyed transitional arrangements after entry, and the nature and length of these has varied from country to country. Furthermore the Maastricht treaty already implies a multi-speed Europe in its progress towards a single currency. As Mr Eyal rightly claims, the stability of the whole of Europe, including its eastern part, depends on both the deepening of the EC into a full union and enlarging it at the same time.
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