Bulgaria and Romania join in 2007

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The Commission president has announced the accession of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007 under toughened conditions, but also declared an “enlargement pause”. [includes link to report]

Final monitoring report

The Commission stated on 26 September 2006 that Bulgaria and Romania can join the EU in 2007. The final monitoring report  by the Commission indicates tougher conditions on their entry. 

Areas of concern

Both countries will be closely monitored on the remaining areas of concern. For Bulgaria, these are the justice system, the fight against corruption, police co-operation and the fight against organised crime, money-laundering, integrated administrative control system for agriculture (IACS), transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE), and financial control. For Romania, these are further efforts in the justice system and the fight against corruption and IACS, Paying Agencies, TSE and interconnectivity of tax systems.

Safeguard measures

If the requirements are not met, the Commission has the possibility to invoke safeguards. Under the Accession Treaty, there are three types of safeguard measures: economic, internal market and JHA safeguards, which can be invoked up to three years after accession. These could effect food export bans and cuts to EU funds, such as agricultural and structural funds, as foreseen in the report. In addition, there are transitional arrangements, such as the restriction of free movement of workers from new member states. Also the Commission can take remedial measures to ensure the functioning of EU policies. This concerns the areas of food and air safety, agricultural funds, the judiciary and the fight against corruption.

Enlargement pause

Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said: “I do not think it would be wise to proceed with any enlargements before we have resolved the constitutional issue in Europe.”

This may raise doubts about to Turkey and the Western Balkans joining the EU soon. Nevertheless, Barroso conceded that he “would like Croatia to join as quickly as possible, if it fulfils all the criteria”.

The Accession Treaty, signed in April 2005, has been ratified by Bulgaria and Romania, as well as 21 member states so far.

The two countries will join as of 1 January 2007, unless the Council decides to postpone the accession until 2008. The Finnish presidency has promised that "the Council will abide by its agreements."

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