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There aren't Different Categories of EU Membership

Date: 16.09.2006

Open the windows in order we could see what's happening in Bulgaria and we'll open the doors,
says Peter Harry Carstensen

Peter Harry Carstensen (born 12 March 1947 in Elisabeth-Sophien-Koog, on the Nordstrand coast of the state of Schleswig-Holstein) is a German politician, in the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party. Peter Harry Carstensen has been a member of the CDU since 1971. From 1986 to 1992 he was leader of the local CDU in the Nordfriesland district becoming leader, on 2 June 2002. On 27 April 2005 Carstensen was finally elected premier of the state of Schleswig-Holstein with a majority of 54 votes (out of the grand coalition's 59).
Carstensen is also President of the Bundesrat, Germany's upper house of parliament.
Peter Harry Carstensen is widowed and has two daughters.

- Mr. Carstensen, you've met with leading Bulgarian politicians. How do you estimate the progress of our country on its way to EU membership? What are the problems which must be solved to meet the EC's requirements?

- I'll make an important remark: everybody here speaks of accession and nothing but accession - every little step is discussed, as well as the date. And the real hard work starts after the accession. The question is not of simply meeting the requirements set by the EU, but of becoming a successful member, too. The word is about Bulgaria becoming EU's respected and full member. This is what we see as our task and this will remain a goal of ours while there are any week points. A number of reforms are forthcoming and Germany is ready to cooperate for your successful membership.

- Bulgaria's EU accession treaty is expected to be ratified by the two houses of the Bundestag. In your opinion, what kind of discussions will accompany the process?

- The report of the EC on September 26 will be the debate's basis. Germany will vote in a fully transparent procedure.

- After the last critical report about Bulgaria the German CDU party demanded the activation of safeguard clauses for Bulgaria, if the country failed to overcome the its week points before the EU entry. Do you think that this will happen?

- This question is strange. I'm still not acquainted with the contents of the EC's report which is to be announced on September 26. If it is critical, the question about changes in this situation must be posed. Measures will be a must. I'm not sure that a "safeguard clause" is the right term. Who will be "saved" by this clause - is it the EU or Bulgaria? That's why I've told your PM: Open the windows and let us see what you are doing, and we'll open the EU doors.

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