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Germany Ratified Bulgaria, Romania's EU Accession Treaty

Date: 25.11.2006

Germany's upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, ratified unanimously the EU treaty of Bulgaria and Romania.

Deputy Prime Minister and Education and Science Minister Daniel Valchev attended the sitting.

Germany was the last EU member states to complete this key procedure without which it will be impossible for the country to become a full-fledged member of the bloc, as anticipated on 1 January 2007.

Yet, the discussion preceding the vote outlined once again the objections of certain German lawmakers, insisting that the EC would let Sofia and Bucharest into the bloc but with safeguard clauses in the judiciary and home affairs' field.

Christian democrat Willie Schtelle from Baden-Vurtemberg praised the enormous efforts paid by both Bulgaria and Romania in the period of pre-accession preparation.

Bavarian representative kept on insisting on a stricter form of monitoring on the two states, particularly in the fields of agriculture, judiciary and internal affairs.

The Bundesrat, which represents the 16 federal states of Germany, voted for the bill unanimously. The Bundestag, or the lower house, approved it at the end of last month.

In September, the European Commission announced that Romania and Bulgaria would be admitted to the 25-nation EU in January 2007.

The office of Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn has said the a report listing all measures and inspection mechanisms to be used for monitoring reform progress in the two countries is ready and will be sent soon to the governments in Sofia and Bucharest.

In its final monitoring report on Bulgaria's EU entry readiness released on September 29, the EC said that regular inspections will be carried out to monitor reforms progress even after the two Balkan states are full fledged members. The country will have to report of the measures undertaken every six months to avoid the introduction of safeguard clauses.

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