1 January 2000
In June 1997, Hungary became the first central European country to join the International Energy Agency (IEA). One month later, after years of mutual observation and cautious dialogue, the European Commission recommended the opening of formal negotiations with Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Estonia, with a view to accession of these countries to the European Union (EU). Entry to the EU requires candidates to make their legislation compatible with EU standards and rules, as well as achieving convergence on monetary, economic, military and environmental policies. It represents a huge effort and needs careful planning, writes Marc Partridge, head of oil and gas project finance, Crédit Lyonnais.