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Bulgaria Wasn’t Ready to Join EU

Date: 16.12.2009

"Bulgaria and Romania were not ready to enter the European Union", the EU Enlargement Commissioner, Olli Rehn says.

Rehn spoke in an interview for the Belgium La Libre Belgique. Rehn, who is currently the Commissioner-designate for Economic and Monetary Affairs, points out that the European Commission at the time had no right to impose a veto on the pre-accession negotiations.

“This is why, with the then Dutch Presidency of the EU, we proposed the control mechanism and the clause that would delay the membership if needed. But the new Bulgarian and Romanian cabinets undertook serious reforms,” Rehn says.

The Enlargement Commissioner points out he would not claim everything surrounding the accession of the two countries had been in order, but states that the situation has improved in 2007.

According to Rehn, the EC learned through its experience with Bulgaria and Romania to never set a firm date for the EU joining of a particular country before the pre-accession talks are completed and to require stricter criteria for the membership as it is now Croatia’s case.

“As far as Turkey is concerned we would not open a chapter in the pre-accession negotiations before we are certain the laws involving freedom of speech have been fully reformed. Quality is more important than speed,” Rehn is quoted as saying.


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