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Thursday, December 02, 2004
The European Parliament has passed an amendment to its report on Bulgaria saying that it can join the Union through an individual treaty, as opposed to the paired accession with Romania so far expected .
The separation of the two Balkan countries has resulted from the delay in negotiations with Romania, which still has two crucial chapters to close, half a year after Bulgaria put an end to its pre-accession talks.
The EP's Foreign Affairs Committee approved the report of Romania and Bulgaria's progress on the path to EU on Tuesday night. The report backing Romania's membership passed the committee with 64 votes in favor, eight against and five abstentions.
Bulgaria's was voted 72-3-1.
The European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee warned Romania that its membership could be put back a year if it backtracks on democratic commitments.
Both nations are hoping to wrap up negotiations by the end of this year, allowing them to formally join on January 1, 2007.
However, lawmakers were critical of delays in implementing reforms. Romania, in particular, faced several amendments tabled by lawmakers who expressed concern over allegations of corruption, judicial interference and media intimidation.
They said EU governments should reserve the right to delay its membership if problems worsen.
Accusations of fraud in Romania's general elections were also discussed. Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Elmar Brok, said he will bring up the issue in the European Parliament plenum before the country report is voted. Moscovici backed Brok's proposal, but asked that the elections and the report be discussed separately.
Leaders of the 25 EU nations are expected to declare both nations on track at a summit meeting on December 16-17 in Brussels, which would open the way for them to sign membership treaties in April or May.
Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 12/02/2004 10:05:00 am
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