EU environment agency membership grows

The European Environment Agency yesterday welcomed six new member countries, making it the first EU specialised agency to begin expanding ahead of the bloc's eastwards enlargement. Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia, Malta, Slovenia and the Slovak Republic will start full participation from 1 January. The development was welcomed by EEA chief Domingo Jiménez-Beltrán as a historic day for the agency and an "important milestone in Europe's environmental reunification". Another seven countries are due to join in the coming months, taking the EEA's total membership to 31. See EEA statement.

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