The European Parliament has agreed to the nomination of the Bulgarian and Romanian commissioner candidates, paving the way for their countries’ accession on 1 January 2007.
Following the hearings of both commissioner candidates on 27 November 2006, Parliament has formally endorsed the newcomers.
Commission President José Manuel Barroso said before the vote: “I sincerely believe that they both fulfil the highest standards.” He added: “The approval by the European Parliament on the appointment of the two commissioners-designate will allow the Council to formally appoint them.”
The Bulgarian commissioner candidate Meglena Kuneva was approved with 583 votes in favour to 21 against and 28 abstentions. Kuneva will join the cabinet as commissioner for consumer affairs (see EURACTIV, 28 November 2006).
Leonard Orban, the Romanian candidate, won 595 votes against 16 with 29 abstentions. Orban will be in charge of linguistic and cultural diversity (see EURACTIV, 28 November 2006).
At the same time, Justice, Freedom and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini welcomed the progress made by Bulgaria and Romania. Frattini said: “The two countries have achieved a significant progress, especially in their judicial systems, fight against corruption and organised crime. The two governments should make it clear to their citizens that the progress is in their interest.”