Parliament faces crucial enlargement decisions

At this week’s Strasbourg session (25-28 September 2006), the European Parliament is to vote on the Eurlings report on Turkey’s progress, as well as on the Rapkay report on services of general interest. It also awaits the Commission’s statement on Bulgaria and Romania’s EU accession.

On 26 September 2006, the Parliament will discuss the report by MEP Bernhard Rapkay on the Commission White Paper on Services of General Interest, to be followed by a vote the next day. The report lays out how EU legislation should affect public services in the member states.

MEPs await a communication from Commissioner Olli Rehn on 26 September 2006, concerning the entry of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU. The two countries are expected to get a green light for accession in 2007, but under tough conditions, with the Commission retaining the right to make use of safeguards, which could go as far as suspending financial support. Both countries are also under the Commission’s scrutiny concerning their justice system, as well as corruption.

The Parliament is set to vote on the report by Camiel Eurlings on Turkey’s progress towards accession on 27 September 2006. The report, which was adopted by the Foreign Affairs Committee on 4 September, calls for further reform in the area of freedom of speech, Turkey’s relation with Cyprus, as well as the recognition of the Armenian genocide. The Commission’s progress report on Turkey is tabled for 8 November.

The Conference of Presidents will discuss the investiture of the new commissioners from Bulgaria and Romania, as well as the portfolio reshuffle. The two commissioners will be put to a vote in Parliament in December 2006.

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