Between 1991 and 1995, the European Union (EU) signed association agreements with 10 countries of central and eastern Europe. These agreements provide for limited trade liberalisation in the agricultural sector. Impacts of the EU market opening up have been disappointing. The object of the paper is to review the main causes of these limited results. We show that the main reasons pertain to the supply side, namely, insufficient export surplus availability, and limited competitiveness. The very nature of the preferences is not responsible for the low level of utilisation of the preferential quotas. However, we present in the paper a number of modifications, ranging from minor technical adaptations to more significant changes. At least, these would provide flexibility, which is crucially lacking in the present state of the agreements.