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All Governments Favour Bulgaria's Accession

Date: 08.09.2006

Geoffrey van Orden
European Parliament rapporteur for Bulgaria

- Mr. van Orden, has the European Parliament been informed about Bulgaria's efforts to meet Brussels' requirements?

- Yes, it has. It was a pleasure to receive Bulgaria's Prime Minister Stanishev in Strasburg on Tuesday. I was with him when he took part in the European Parliament Chairmen Conference, I mean the sitting attended by political groups' leaders. Of all seven groups, five voiced encouragement. The big groups are definitely positively disposed.

- Can we say Bulgaria will be acceded on January 1, 2007 by all means?

- It is too early to say. The Council will not make a decision before the summit in December. The accession can be under certain conditions. On the one hand, safeguard clauses can be triggered, some of the member states can impose restrictions on the free flow of labour force.

- Like the UK, for instance.

- This is absolutely possible.

- Isn't this an instance of discrimination, the eight Eastern European countries that were acceded in the 2004 received an immediate access to your labour market?

- Oh, I do not think things should be regarded this way. I believe each country has the right to make decisions in the context of time and its own judgment for the internal political situation.

- Bulgaria's Prime Minister said it is now harder to Bulgaria to "sell" its accession due the enlargement fatigue. Do you agree?

- It is not only a matter of enlargement fatigue. I have been repeating for long that there is no doubt that certain circles in some countries want to slow down the whole enlargement process. So, I do not think it is only fatigue. I think certain political voices speak against the future enlargement. I am afraid, Bulgaria and Romania are targeted by these people who are a minority, I should say. All governments favour the enlargement.

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