FOREIGN ministers from the European Union and negotiators from Norway met yesterday in Brussels to resolve a dispute over fishing rights so that Norway will agree to join the EU on Jan. 1, 1995, along with Sweden, Finland, and Austria.
Norway's chief negotiator, Trade Minister Grete Knudsen, and the EU's top fisheries official, Ioannis Paleokrassas, said they were hopeful the two sides could settle the dispute. Danish Foreign Minister Niels Helveg Petersen said a deal was expected to be reached quickly.
Norway's refusal to open its rich North Sea waters to foreign fishing fleets was the main reason it did not join Sweden, Finland, and Austria in agreeing on membership terms last week.
Spain, which has the EU's largest fishing fleet, has threatened to block Norway's membership unless it makes concessions. But Norway said any concessions could block approval of the membership agreement in a referendum.
All four countries must hold referendums on membership before they can enter the EU. Norwegians voted down membership when the country tried to join in 1972.
Ministers from the 12 EU nations also must resolve an internal dispute over voting rights before the new members are admitted.
The EU was also scheduled to meet yesterday with ministers from Hungary and Poland, both potential members. Kohl's right-wing allies lose in Bavaria
CHANCELLOR Helmut Kohl's conservative allies trailed their rival Social Democrats (SPD) in early results from Sunday's local elections in the state of Bavaria.
In the first balloting of a marathon election year in Germany, the Christian Social Union (CSU) failed to unseat SPD incumbents in most of the 26 mayoral and council elections and lost control of the the city of Bamberg.
To what extent the results influence the national elections in October is still unclear. But the CSU, allied to Mr. Kohl's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is now in danger of losing its majority in the Bavarian legislature in state voting scheduled for September. Nationwide opinion polls show the CDU well behind the opposition SPD by a margin of 34 to 45 percent. Voters blame Kohl's party for the worst recession since World War II and record unemployment. Moldovans choose independence
MOLDOVANS have voted overwhelmingly to remain independent, dealing a sharp setback to nationalists seeking reunification with Romania.
Officials in neighboring Romania said history, not the ballot box, should decide the future of the tiny former Soviet republic.
With most votes counted yesterday, more than 90 percent of Moldovans participating in a referendum Sunday supported remaining an independent state within current borders.
In parliamentary elections a week earlier, Moldovans - two-thirds of whom are ethnic Romanians - voted for parties seeking closer ties to Russia and shunned nationalists favoring reunification with Romania.
Romania feels strong ties to Moldova, where inhabitants speak Romanian with a heavy Russian accent, share Romania's national anthem, fly its flag, and have a currency named after the Romanian leu. ``Only history can decide the fate of Moldova, and Romania will take action to integrate these two Romanian states,'' Romania's Foreign Ministry said in a statement yesterday.
The Soviet Union annexed Moldova from Romania in 1940, and the republic of 4.3 million people declared independence in 1991 during the Soviet breakup.
Fighting broke out in 1992 in the breakaway Trans-Dniester region, where ethnic Russians and Ukrainians are a majority. Russian peacekeepers remain there. Although Trans-Dniester boycotted the elections and the referendum, its leaders praised the results and voiced hopes that a dialogue with Moldova could be resumed, with Russia as mediator.