Although they have been making progress with competition and the Justice reform, corruption is still the greatest difficulty of Romanian authorities, says the European Commission's report on Romania to be presented tomorrow in the European Parliament session in Strasbourg. The report to be released is more favorable than the previous ones, but it still recommends the fight against fraud and high level corruption should be more intense by means of efficient use of legislation and prevention measures. At the end of last week, GB Ambassador to Bucharest Quinton Quayle was saying: "Unfortunately, corruption has been in Romania for a long time, from before the Revolution, and it spread under the ex government's rule. The present government has initiated reforms in the fight of corruption, but the results have been rather faint so far". The British official also added: "A real reform of Justice is the safest way. In Romania, nobody should be immune to Justice, no agriculture worker with 200 ROL in his pocket and no businessman or politician with $ 200 million in the bank."
Sanitary security, environment and agriculture
According to the Commission, sanitary security at Romania's border, environment and agriculture are still difficulties for Romania. Still the Commission opines that "Romania can implement the acquis at the planned date of accession." The report to be released tomorrow in Strasbourg is the first evaluation of Romania's achievements in terms of "red or green lights" to indicate victory or difficulty with meeting European standards. Romania and Bulgaria signed the treaty of accession six months ago and they are to undergo similar evaluation next spring. Bucharest and several European capital cities such as Paris have been looking forwards to the document to be presented tomorrow. The authorities of such states have announced they will proceed to treaty ratification only after the European Commission's report has been released.
Romanian authorities are optimistic
The European Commission's report will be optimistic and precise about Romania's progress, said Romanian minister of foreign affairs Mihai Razvan Ungureanu on Saturday. Ungureanu added in the press conference he had after the meeting with Bulgarian minister of foreign affairs Ivailo Kalfin: "Relying on my last meeting with EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn, I can tell you the editors of the country report are aware of Romanian's progress since January. Our ability and determination to solve accession problems also matter a lot. We can guess that the country report will be precise and optimistic about our progress." Ungureanu outlined the government's progress in many fields the European Commission was watching: "I mean the handling of corruption cases in governmental agencies, such as the customs police. In one month' time minister Blaga has managed to settle much of the problem."
Sophia comes after Bucharest
At the end of last week one EU official was saying: "Romania has made more progress than expected and Bulgaria less." (...) Although the European Commission warned Sophia officials about five fields and Bucharest authorities about seven fields, as seen in the warning letter sent in June, Sophia has been late with the reforms needed for accession, especially in Justice and internal affairs. This is included in the Commission's report on Bulgaria. Sophia officials have frequently objected against the Commission's strict evaluation, asking for comeback to the standards used for the 10 states that joined the EU in January 1st, 2004, says Rompres.
Austria is skeptical about Romania
Rompres says that in last week's interview to "Die Presse", Austrian MEP Hannes Svoboda opined that the postponement of Romania's accession to EU "would not be such a bad thing." Svoboda explained that if such decision were reached, Romania "would have more time to meet requirements." In his recent visit to Bucharest, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn demanded Romanian authorities to agree to carry out the reforms EU required and warned that EU officials would reach final decision on whether to postpone Romania's accession or not in April 2006, when Austria would have presidency over the EU. Svoboda added that Austria had to prepare for the debate to follow and warned that in his country there were "great fears and sensitivity." (D.E.)