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EC Report Said to Augur Massive Humiliation for Sofia

Date: 26.07.2011

Bulgaria may be heading for an enormous political humiliation due to the so-called "rendez-vous clause", the major novelty in this year's report of the European Commission, EurActiv reported.

The clause says that in the summer of 2012, five years after the start of the monitoring process, the Commission should make a general assessment of each country's progress and make "appropriate proposals in light of this assessment", with the option of lifting the monitoring mechanism available.

Diplomats told EurActiv that the rendez-vous text had indeed put "maximum pressure" on both countries and made up for their lack of progress, which had exasperated not only the Commission's services, but several older member states.

"Peer pressure" was expected to produce results, as in a scenario whereby Romania would see its monitoring lifted, the political fallout for Bulgaria would be "enormous".

When the two countries joined the EU, in 2007, persistent corruption and insufficient reforms of their jutice systems determined the set-up of an unprecedented monitoring mechanism, which so far led to the freezing of millions of euros in Bulgaria due to fraud associated with EU funds.

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