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Central European Free Trade Agreement

The Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) is a trade agreement between Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia.

CEFTA was established by Poland, Hungary and former Czechoslovakia on 21 December, 1992 in Kraków, Poland. Slovenia joined CEFTA in 1996, Romania in 1997, Bulgaria in 1998 and Croatia in 2002.

Through CEFTA, participating countries hoped to mobilize efforts to integrate Western European institutions and through this, to join European political, economic, security and legal systems, thereby consolidating democracy and free-market economics.

All the participating countries had previously signed association agreements with the EU, so in fact CEFTA serves as a preparation for full European Union membership, and all CEFTA countries have applied to join the EU (Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia have joined the EU in May 1, 2004, Bulgaria and Romania are scheduled to do so on January 1, 2007, Croatia does not yet have a date specified). At the EU's recommendation, the future members prepared for membership by establishing free trade areas. A large proportion of CEFTA foreign trade is with EU countries.

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