EU NEGOTIATIONS CANNOT BE COMPLETED IN 2003
BY Ljubomir Mihailov
Interview with Margot Kessler
Margot Kessler (Germany) is a deputy in the EU Parliament from the group of the European socialists' party. She participated in the work of the Commission on human rights and freedoms, justice and home affairs. For two years she has been a member of the Joint BG-EU parliamentary commission and is well acquainted with the situation in Bulgaria and the progress of the negotiations between Sofia and Brussels on the Bulgaria's EU membership.
- Mrs. Kessler, what conclusions one may draw after the 13th sitting of the joint BG-EU parliamentary committee?
- The discussion on the formulation of the final document's text at the sitting of the Joint BG-EU parliamentary committee was very animated, even heated at certain moments. Because the Bulgarian party is trying to accelerate the negotiations at all costs and complete them by 2003. However, to us it seems unrealistic.
- What makes you think so?
- At the sitting it was decided that the negotiations will be finished in 2004 and then, by end-2006 or beginning of 2007, Bulgaria will become a full EU member. This deadline, 2006-2007 was set, because after the completion of the negotiations at least 18 months are needed. Within this time the national parliaments of the EU countries will have to ratify the decision about the membership.
- The government has already opened 23 out of 29 chapters and would like to open the remaining 6 before the end of the year. But probably the report of the European Commission, which is expected later this month, will affect the ambitious plan of the Bulgarian diplomacy.
- With this plan the Bulgarian government actually wants to keep abreast with the other countries negotiating on the EU membership, who have already opened all chapters. It appears to me, however, that it's not so important how many chapters are opened, attention should be focused on the quality of the preparation for the membership, legislative activity related to it, application of the already adopted laws and recommendations of the EU.
- What do you expect from the report of the European Commission on Bulgaria which is expected to be published by the end of November?
- For this report other sources are used, not the information on the work of our joint committee. However, I think that it will emphasize that Bulgaria has made progress. I do share this point of view, but at the same time in my estimation this progress is not enough considerable yet.
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