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Bulgaria fends off fears of Dutch EU opposition

Date: 08.10.2005

Bulgaria's foreign minister, who wrapped up a one-day visit to the Netherlands, tried to defuse fears of strong Dutch opposition to the accession of the Balkan country.

"The Netherlands are not concerned about the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, but rather about the philosophy of EU expansion," Minister Ivaylo Kalfin told the Bulgarian office of British broadcaster BBC.

"We are fully aware of how sensitive the issue of EU enlargement is in the Netherlands. That's why it is very important to implement our commitments and keep the reforms on track," the minister added.

He expects the Dutch parliament to start the procedure for ratification of Bulgaria's accession treaty at the end of this year or the beginning of the next at the earliest.

The minister assured that Dutch counterpart Bernard Bot and the leaders of the biggest factions of the Dutch Parliament have demonstrated will to support the country.

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