ENLARGEMENT: BIG BANG ACHIEVED WITH LITTLE MONEY.

After all the political rhetoric and major grandstanding by Poland, the solution eventually emerged through some new EU money. But the additional cost of the deal agreed by everyone at the end of the day's talks was just Euro 408 million. This is the only extra funding added to what EU leaders agreed at their dinner on December 12, and offered to the ten leading candidates on the morning of December 13. Euro 108 million of this will go to Poland, specifically for implementing the Schengen agreement on border controls. The rest will be split among the new Member States as follows: Slovakia Euro 23 million; the Czech Republic Euro 83 million; Slovenia Euro 49 million; Malta Euro 54 million; Cyprus Euro 10 million; Latvia Euro 7 million; Estonia Euro 6 million; Lithuania Euro 23 million; and Hungary Euro 23 million.

In addition, Poland, which had held out longest and for most during the day, won the right to make early use of Euro 1 billion of the EU money that had been allocated to it for structural instruments, so it can bridge any gaps in its national budget from topping up direct payments to its farmers. Its flexibility to grant top-ups to aids to farmers was also increased by the deal. It also won a switch in its quota for wholesale milk (up from 7 million tonnes to 8.5 million tonnes) although the overall quota remains unchanged, so there is a corresponding drop in the quota for the other element in milk quotas, i.e. direct or on-farm sales.

The attempts on the margins of the summit to resolve the internal dispute in Cyprus via the UN settlement plan did not deliver a result. Greek Cypriots said they had given away on lot of the contentious issues, but that Turkish Cypriot President Denktash had been immoveable. The leader of the north of the island, who was in the Turkish capital Ankara on Friday, accused the EU of trying to keep out Muslim countries. "The European Union's strategy is to delay Turkey and to take Cyprus, to possess Cyprus and to build something like a Christian fortress around Turkey," Denktash claimed. The Greek and Turkish Cypriots are under continued pressure, nevertheless, to negotiate an agreement on reuniting the island by February next year in the hope that Cyprus could join the EU as a unified state. Turkey's government meanwhile softened its earlier anger at the decision not to fix a firm date for the start of accession negotiations. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of the ruling AK Party, said: "We're not upset...

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