Minister Treacy welcomes Jan 1 2007 accession date for Bulgaria and Romania
The Minister for European Affairs, Mr Noel Treacy T.D., has welcomed today's recommendation from the European Commission that Bulgaria and Romania should both accede to the EU on 1 January 2007, as planned.
The Minister said “I am pleased that the Commission report gives the 'green light' for Bulgaria and Romania to join to European Union next January. Both countries have worked hard over a number of years in order to be able to meet the requirements of EU membership. Throughout this process, the European Commission has been rigorous in monitoring their preparations for membership. Now that the Commission has recommended their early accession, we look can forward to welcoming Bulgaria and Romania into the European Union next year. I am sure that their membership will bring benefit to both countries and to our unique family of European nations.”
“The further monitoring envisaged by today's report will serve to ensure that the pace of reform in Bulgaria and Romania is maintained following their accession. The entry of Bulgaria and Romania into the EU will complete the Union's historic 5th enlargement made possible by the ending of the Cold War. Ireland looks forward to working with both countries in a Union of 27 members.”
The Minister made it clear that the decision on labour market access for Bulgarian and Romanian citizens after they join the European Union is a separate matter which is not dealt with in today's report. “The Government will take its decision on this before the end of the year after consulting the social partners and considering the labour market and other issues involved”, the Minister said.
Note for editors:
Today's Monitoring Report on the state of preparedness for EU membership of Bulgaria and Romania gives the European Commission's assessment of both countries' progress since May 2006. It confirms that both countries have made further progress with their preparations for membership. However, the Commission also identifies a number of areas of continuing concern as well as areas where the Commission may in the future initiate safeguard measures to ensure the proper functioning of the EU. Romania and Bulgaria are strongly encouraged to make proper use of the months before accession in order to address the remaining issues.
In particular the Commission has set a number of benchmarks in the areas of judicial reform and the fight against corruption, money-laundering and organised crime where some progress has been made but further tangible results are needed; these benchmarks are specific to each country. Other areas which have been identified for further scrutiny are the proper management of EU agricultural funds, food safety and aviation safety.
On the basis of today's assessment by the Commission, the Council of Foreign Ministers, at its next meeting on 16 October, is set to formally agree to 1 January 2007 as the accession date.
26 September 2006