Wien, 26. October 2005 Press release

Plassnik: “Chances open for EU accession of Romania and Bulgaria in 2007”

26.10.2005

Accession prospects as an encouragement for further reforms

Vienna, 26 October 2005 - "Romania and Bulgaria have made important progress towards realising their EU prospects", said Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik after the publication of the monitoring reports by the European Commission on the two countries’ state of preparedness for EU membership. They had adapted their laws and regulations to EU law to a remarkable extent.

At the same time it was necessary to take further action, in particular in such areas as rule of law, improvement of public administration, the judicial system, and combating corruption and organised crime. The European Union would offer selective support to both countries in order to put European standards into practice and ensure that the readiness for accession was achieved, said the Foreign Minister in a positive comment on the report.

"As I see it, the Commission’s message to the two countries is as follows: No withdrawal of the warning of a possible postponement of the accession. But also encouragement. If they undertake energetic efforts, the chances of accession in 2007 will remain open", said the Foreign Minister.

On behalf of their populations, it was of utmost interest to the accession candidates to insistently pursue the goal of timely accession through further reform. The achievement of European standards - e.g. in the field of the rule of law - would create a reliable regulatory framework. This was indispensable, not only for business, but also for foreign investment and the well-being of the population.

"Austrian enterprises are already very active in both countries. From a bilateral viewpoint, the timely accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the EU would be welcome. It would strengthen the position of our Austrian enterprises in the accession countries - in the interests of both sides", said Plassnik.

The EU Commission would closely observe progress in the course of the next months. During Austria’s Presidency it would then take its final decision on whether or not to recommend a postponement of the accession by one year, concluded Plassnik.

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