Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 113

Latvia became the first of the Baltic countries to officially apply for full membership of the EU when President Guntis Ulmanis and caretaker Prime Minister Maris Gailis signed the formal documents at a Riga ceremony October 13. But in Vilnius, senior Lithuanian officials said that Latvia should not have made this move now. Lithuanian foreign minister Povilas Gylys called for "simultaneous" steps by the three Baltic states in the EU admission process. Both seemingly overlooked the fact that Lithuania, hoping for an early success, had been the first of the three to announce that it to apply officially for EU membership. In Tallinn, President Lennart Meri said that Estonia would be the first to become a full member of the EU, and once inside, it will help the other two countries attain membership as well. (5)

In June, the three Baltic states signed associate membership agreements with the EU. French minister for European affairs Michel Barnier, now on an official visit to the region, cautioned that while Brussels. may negotiate the Baltic states’ accession on parallel tracks, "on no account will the EU admit new members in bloc."

Kuchma Against CIS Military Bloc.