At the moment the EU is very much in the driving seat in much of the region, having provided substantial aid since 1989 and attracted strong support for eventual membership in the interests of security and trade (Hudson 1994; Jachtenfuchs 1992). The CIS lies outside this framework but the only other group of non-candidate countries is located in the West Balkans where there is a widespread desire to overcome the recent history of war which has effectively blocked progress towards integration. Of course there are uncertainties over the enlargement process and the weaker candidates may find the financial burden of approximation unsustainable. In each country serious doubts are expressed and public opinion is sceptical. However, no alternative to early integration with the rest of Europe is seriously considered outside the CIS where Russia's links with the West are balanced by its massive stake in Asian affairs. Meanwhile there is strong support for enlargement among the present membership and a realisation in the European Commission that the promise of membership must be backed by political will to expedite entry as quickly as possible through a readiness to compromise.
On this basis it is necessary to consider European norms as a key factor influencing the shape of current environmental policy which the EU believes will be a force for stability, with a better environment reducing transboundary problems and demonstrating the benefits of reform and restructuring (Baker and Jehlička 1998, p.18). PHARE (Poland-Hungary: Assistance for Restructuring their Economies) has provided investments leading to the adoption and application of EU law and reinforcement of administrative and judicial capacity (Marwaha 1993). Such assistance has become more effective in setting realistic targets for accession, commensurate with limited absorptive capacity for investment. On the other hand, East Central European countries have accepted 'asymmetry' in the interim association agreements so as to meet the requirements of the present member states on trade and migration (Caddy 1997), for there is particular concern over competition from low-priced manufactures and excessive diversion of structural funding. However, good prospects for full membership for associated countries were confirmed at the European Council meeting in Copenhagen in 1993 which laid down key criteria; followed by a pre-accession strategy which emerged from the Essen Summit (1994) and a