EU "Stops Cash Flows" for Sofia, Bucharest after Entry

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | April 4, 2006, Tuesday // 00:00

The European Commission could deny EU cash to Romania and Bulgaria to push for further reforms even after they become members of the bloc, EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn indicated.

On Monday evening Olli Rehn presented his preliminary assessment on Bulgaria and Romania's progress en route to the EU.

After the meeting that took place behind closed doors MEPs commented for EUObserver that the commission is devising a new monitoring system which should pressure Sofia and Bucharest to pursue reforms even after accession.

Dutch Green MEP Joost Lagendijk said that Rehn had indicated this could "include the withholding of EU financial aid if reforms are not satisfactory."

Rehn commented that the 2007 entry is still doable, underlining that putting off membership until 2008 is unlikely, saying "a recommendation to postpone accession will only be made in cases of major problems."

A recommendation by Brussels to use the less drastic safeguard clauses - either in the May report or even in a later report in November is the more likely option. These safeguard clauses could exclude Romania or Bulgaria from full participation in specific policy areas even if they enter the union on time in 2007.

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