The Secretary of State and her ministerial team have used every opportunity to stress to the European Commission and to the Secretary of State's counterparts in the EU Accession Countries the importance of complying with the EU acquis communautaire (the rules and regulations laid down by the European Union), and in particular the veterinary and phytosanitary acquis which covers areas such as food hygiene and animal slaughter. Over the last year, ministerial teams have met with colleagues from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland and Slovakia. The UK has also been offering practical help, for example via the Commission's Food and Veterinary Office (FVO).
All New member states have undertaken to meet the EU acquis communautaire in these areas. Some Transition Periods have been granted—as has been the case for all previous Accessions—and will begin on the