The vast majority of European stakeholders agree with the accession of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007, but opinions diverge on future enlargement.
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. Both countries will be closely monitored on the remaining areas of concern, such as the justice system, fight against corruption, organised crime and agriculture.
If the requirements are not met, the Commission can invoke safeguards. Under the Accession Treaty, there are three types of measures: economic, internal market and JHA, 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.
Commission President José 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 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”.