Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Three EU Commissioners Object to Tough Talk in Bulgaria, Romania Report

Sofia News Agency

26 June 2007, Tuesday

Three EU commissioners have asked for a milder wording of a report assessing the progress of reforms in Bulgaria and Romania, but met the opposition of the rest of the bloc's executive, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Justice and home affairs commissioner Franco Frattini wants criticism to be toned down and was backed by the commissioners from the two countries, the latest additions to the EU as of January - Bulgaria's Meglena Kuneva, in charge of consumer protection, and Leonard Orban, in charge of multilinguism.

But their objections were shot down by the rest of the commission, who argued that the report has to be objective if the EU enlargement process is to maintain its credibility, Reuters said.

The draft of the report, due to be approved by the commission on Wednesday, will see only minor modifications, without a major shift in its attitude, the agency said, quoting unnamed European officials.

The report is set to criticise the two countries for failing to make enough headway regarding judiciary reform, as well as combating organised crime and corruption in Bulgaria's case, but would not trigger the safeguard clauses stipulated in accession treaty signed by the two Balkan neighbours.

For the first time, however, it will set concrete targets to measure progress, while the threat of the safeguard clauses will not be lifted.

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