Romania has taken a major step towards membership of the European Union with the conclusion of talks on joining the bloc. The country’s foreign minister, Mircea Geoana, said “technically the talks are over”, though a formal announcement’s expected at an EU summit in Brussels next week. It came after representatives of the 25 EU states approved a final package of conditions on outstanding issues. “It’s an historic day for Romania,” Geoana said after the talks.
The European Commission will monitor Bucharest’s implementation of EU law in seven areas of justice and home affairs and four areas of competition policy. The issues most closely watched by Brussels will include the fight against corruption and organised crime, and reform of Romania’s competition authority. Romania, along with Bulgaria, is aiming for membership in 2007.