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Bucharest, Sofia face next EU hurdle in Strasbourg

brussels bureau

Bucharest, Sofia face next EU hurdle in Strasbourg


The European Parliament is voting this Wednesday on whether to approve the bids for EU membership in 2007 by Romania and its neighbour Bulgaria.

In a pre-vote debate, Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said he would not hesitate to recommend delaying the entry if either lags on key reforms. The author of the parliamentary report on Romania, Pierre Moscovici, said the Parliament also is taking a wait-and-see position: ‘The assembly will not be signing a blank cheque, will hold off on the last word, will say that as things stand the treaty will be signed but that right up to 2007 the parliament will be a major player in the procedure.’ Bulgaria and Romania could sign accession treaties on April 25. Then they would have to show concrete results against corruption and strengthening their court systems and market rules. Geoffrey Van Orden wrote the Parliament’s report on Bulgaria. “I think, unfortunately, Bulgaria has been caught in the wake of concerns about another country. And therefore both Romania and Bulgaria have been put together in terms of this treaty of accession. It is unfortunate because I have always called for Bulgaria to be treated entirely on her own merits.” The EU Commission says it is confident the new Romanian government understands swift results will need to be shown. Bulgaria is credited with having made steady progress but must keep up the momentum.
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