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Europe

Romanian EU Accession Could Be Delayed

A report adopted by the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee says that Romania needs a new accession strategy in order to cope with the remaining reforms before EU membership.

The need for further reforms could delay the closure of EU talks with the country (foreseen to end this year), and actual membership envisaged for 2007. However, the new wording replaces a much tougher draft proposal. That proposal, drafted last month by the Dutch MEP Arie Oostlander and the Parliament’s rapporteur for Romania, Emma Nicholson, called for the suspension of the negotiations in their current form and a delay until the country is really able to join the EU. The new report calls on the European Commission to "reorient the accession strategy" of Romania. However, Nicholson told Romanian press that in this particular context, a reorientation or a suspension of the negotiations mean the same thing. The Romanians are putting a positive spin on things, welcoming the new wording and said that the new approach by the European Parliament towards Romania is constructive. "Every day counts" is the new Romanian motto for 2007 EU accession. But the authorities in Bucharest are now being highly criticized for not having halted widespread corruption. Nicholson pointed out that the country needs more time, more attention and more money in order to be able to do this and therefore needs a new accession strategy. The European Commission, which recently rebuked Bucharest for allowing the continued adoption of Romanian children abroad despite a moratorium on the practice, has already expressed its support for the call. (EUObserver.com)

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