Bulgaria still needs to demonstrate it can ensure the rule of law, fight organised crime and tame corruption if it is to join the European Union this coming January. Visiting EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn has warned the Black Sea state it has less than four weeks to convince the EU that it is ready to join. It faces the possibility of a one-year delay option listed in its accession treaty.
Rehn said Bulgaria has made serious progress in technical preparations but has to do more to put criminals and corrupt officials behind bars. Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev in Sofia said his country was interested in achieving an effective judicial system. Sofia needs to amend its constitution for that – again, after the EU found its first attempt to make magistrates accountable “too ambiguous”.