Bulgaria and Romania must implement reforms if they are to successfully tackle judicial reform and high-level corruption, said commission vice president Franco Frattini.
His comments follow the commission’s publication on Wednesday of two progress reports, which, despite being accused of watering down criticism of both countries, indicate that not enough has been done to eradicate high-level corruption.
“Bulgaria, has adopted important constitutional reforms,” said Frattini.
“It has largely met the benchmark, but not completely because these reforms have yet to be implemented.
As for Romania, Frattini said that he noted with “great satisfaction” that benchmarks had also been “largely met”.
A major weakness in both however was the fact that neither country has successfully tackled high-level corruption.
“Both governments are aware of this,” said Frattini.
The commission has effectively given both Bulgaria and Romania a year to clean up their act, with a progress report due to be published mid-2008.
Frattini also defended the non-confrontational nature of both reports.
“These are not monitoring reports,” said Frattini.
“These are member state countries in the post-accession phase, and the aim of these reports is to help them to deliver, to get results.
“I believe that the college that adopted these two reports was credible and able to strike a balance."
European Liberal Democrat leader Graham Watson said that the postivie nature of the reports undermine the concerns of some member states that the 2007 accession was premature.
However, EPP-ED group leader Joseph Daul warned that "becoming a member of the European Union does not mark the end of work”.