This news just came in from the European Commission.
I’ve made some compliation from different sources, and as many they are, the number of opinions differs.
Here are some of them:
Romania and Bulgaria stayed on course to join the European Union in January 2007 as EU regulators cited progress in the fight against corruption and backtracked from a threat to seek an entry delay.
The European Commission said the two Balkan nations deserve several more months to show that improvements to the justice system are irreversible and a membership delay is unnecessary.
Last October, the commission gave both countries six months to upgrade standards or risk missing out on entry until January 2008.
“Romania has made progress in fighting corruption” and “Bulgaria has taken a number of measures to fight corruption,” the commission, the EU’s regulatory arm, said in reports released today in Strasbourg, France.
The commission told both countries to do more, and intends to issue another review in October at the latest.
Romania and Bulgaria, with a combined population of 30 million, are counting on entry to help raise per-capita wealth from a third of the EU average.
Their accession would expand the world’s largest trading bloc to 27 nations and extend its borders to the Black Sea. Romania’s economy grew 4.1 percent last year to about $100 billion — its sixth straight year of expansion — and the Bucharest Stock Exchange’s benchmark BET index has risen 49 percent in the past year. The Bulgarian economy grew 5.5 percent last year to about $24 billion in its eighth consecutive year of expansion and the Bulgarian Stock Exchange’s benchmark Sofix index has risen 13 percent in the past 12 months
Under EU rules, it would be harder to delay membership for Bulgaria than for northern neighbor Romania.
EU governments could postpone Bulgaria’s entry only by unanimous approval of a commission recommendation and Romania’s membership by a majority vote — evidence that the EU was more concerned about Romania than Bulgaria when the two were negotiating membership.
EU threats over the past half year to delay accession have spurred action in both nations. In March, Romania’s Parliament approved a law letting prosecutors extend corruption probes to legislators and ministers and Bulgarian lawmakers backed constitutional amendments stiffening penalties for corruption and allowing the judiciary to try legislators.
“The Commission considers Bulgaria and Romania should be prepared for membership by January 1, 2007, provided they address a number of outstanding issues in the coming months,” European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told the European Parliament in a statement.
The report was more critical on Bulgaria than of the bigger Romania, giving Sofia red flags for dragging its feet on fighting corruption, organised crime and money laundering. “Indictments, prosecution, trials, convictions and dissuasive sentences remain rare in the fight against high level corruption. Bulgaria needs to demonstrate clear evidence of results in the areas,” it said.
The European Commission today said that Romania and Bulgaria were on track to join the European Union on January 1, 2007, as scheduled, but also that they must speed up reforms in several areas. “The possibility of being ready in 2007 is viable, but it is for the two countries to deliver,” European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in Strasbourg.
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Internet Society – Bulgaria has sent a letter last week to European Commissioner Viviane Reding in support of accepting Bulgaria and Romania on January 1st, 2007. While it may have not influenced her vote on that matter, it is important to note that we have always been actively promoting EU membership. We believe it will be good for the Internet users, and for the development of e-government, based on open standards. As we know, the European policy towards Microsoft differs a lot from the Bulgarian one, and we expect full harmonizaiton in this aspect, too.