become impossible for politicians to interpret environmentalists' demands as based on trivial dreams. Here modest but forceful environmental organisations could play a vital role in ensuring that greater attention is paid to improving the environment of the future. Fortunately, some constructive evidence is emerging thanks to the potential integration of some ECECs into supranational organisations like the European Union. Candidate countries have delayed the adoption of the EU environmental policy, thus making it more difficult to arrange an accession timetable. However, short and well-defined transitional periods for environmental improvement after membership could provide welcome flexibility. Issues most likely to complicate accession dialogue relate to environmental dumping and cross-border emissions; along with the regular enforcement of environmental legislation, and higher energy and raw material costs to stimulate greater efficiency (Anon., 1999a, 1999b). Let us hope there will be some improvement in the region's environmental situation once the problems of the early and most exacting years of the transformation period have been overcome.