Luxembourg, 25 April 2005 - The treaty on the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU will be signed in Luxembourg today, with Foreign Minister Plassnik and Vice-Chancellor Gorbach signing the treaty on behalf of Austria. "As of today, a major part of the Danube region has now been integrated into the European Union", said Foreign Minister Plassnik. "This thus marks the conclusion of the enlargement round which began back under the Austrian Presidency in 1998, a process that Austria has accompanied and supported from the very beginning".
In this context Plassnik recalled the first Austrian government declaration of the Second Republic in 1945, which stated that "Austria desires to live itself in unclouded friendship with the peoples of the Danube region and to work together in peace and friendship with all her neighbours in the best interests of all".
For Bulgaria and Romania, however, this is not the last step on the road to Europe. Both states still have a lot of progress to make, continued the Foreign Minister, as both still have some catching up to do in the fields of justice and home affairs, competition and the environment. The European Union will accompany this process with comprehensive monitoring and delay accession by one year if necessary should serious deficits be identified.
President Basescu and Prime Minister Popescu-Tariceanu will sign the treaty on behalf of Romania. Bulgaria will be represented at the signing ceremony by President Parvanov and Prime Minister Saxe-Coburg Gotha. Within the framework of the External Relations Council the Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs also reported on her visit to the states of the Western Balkans. "The future of this region also lies in the European Union", said the Foreign Minister.