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Kuneva: No doubt about Bulgaria, Romania's EU accession date

Date: 26.10.2005

There is no doubt that Bulgaria and Romania will join the EU on January 1, 2007, Bulgaria's Euro-Affairs Minister Meglena Kuneva announced after a meeting with Romanian counterpart Anca Boagiu on Saturday.

It was a known fact that no one was currently discussing safeguard clauses for any of the two countries, Boagiu added. Kuneva said that the countries would do their best to be ready when the date comes.

After their meeting both ministers announced that they had promised before the EC not to comment the upcoming comprehensive report before its release on Tuesday.

The two ministers met in Bulgaria's Danube town of Ruse, linked with Romania's Gyurgevo by the Danube Bridge The meeting was dedicated to the upcoming EC comprehensive monitoring report on the countries' progress to accession.

The two discussed questions in three areas - to what degree the countries are prepared for the accession, the ratification process by the EU member countries and the transport communications between Bulgaria and Romania. Kuneva admitted that she had never talked to a Romanian minister who was so well aware of the big problem with Danube Bridge's high border taxes. In her opinion Boagiu's extensive knowledge on the topic was due to the fact that she used to head the Transport Ministry in Romania before. Boagiu promised to try to influence the local authorities in Gyurgevo to cancel the taxes that she deemed illegitimate.

During her stay in Ruse Kuneva will also unveil a monument dedicated to the Ruse democrats who were repressed after the rise of communism on September 9, 1944.

In the meantime Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Ivaylo Kalfin and his Romanian counterpart Mihai Ungureanu decided at a meeting that Bulgaria and Romania should increase their cooperation to reach their goal for EU Accession.

The two met for the first time in Romania and discussed issues concerning the EU integration and the regional bilateral cooperation between their countries.

Some concrete ideas of cooperation were discussed and the ministers decided that Ungureanu would visit Bulgaria on Tuesday to await the opening of the comprehensive report together with his counterpart.

The EC's comprehensive report, due to be released on October 25, remains critical over the judicial system and the fight in organized crime in the country, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn told the Bulgarian and Romanian observers at the European Parliament at the end of September. The report will not include any recommendations whether or not to use the safeguard clause according to Renh. It will provide a roadmap as regards what remains to be done by next spring, when the final assessment of Bulgaria's readiness will be done. The final report will be presented in April or May.

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