Monday, June 25, 2007

Romania: EC report won't propose fund reduction

European sources said the Commission could propose a partial block in funds for Bulgaria, but Romania is in no danger of receiving less money

“The report which will be passed by the Commission refers to the legal system and the issues related to corruption and organized crime in Romania and Bulgaria and will not deal with the funds granted by the European Union,” said Mark Gray, a Spokesman for the EC. Other European sources however said that Bulgaria risks a partial blockage of the funds because of high concerns regarding Bulgarian authorities ability to fight corruption and organized crime.

Gray said that the Commission will later on this year analyze the situation and decide whether it is necessary to propose such measures, after a separate audit to establish how each of the two countries created appropriate financial control mechanisms. The same sources said that the European Commission could trigger at least one safeguard clause for Bulgaria in order to prove to EU budget contributors that their interests are protected and to put pressure on Sofia authorities so that they enforce more severe measures to fight corruption and to improve public administration. Such action is unlikely in what regards Romania, the same sources said.

The EU should grant Romania €11.5 billion ($15.4 billion) between 2007 and 2009, while Bulgaria is scheduled to receive €4.6 billion ($6.2 billion). Bulgaria's European Commissioner Meglena Kuneva recently said that Bulgaria amended Constitution to ensure justice independence as required by the EU and that the country has made progress in fighting organized crime. She admitted that one safeguard clause could be triggered if Bulgaria doesn't do anything to prevent this from happening. (

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