Sofia denies reports of delays in EU entry

May 1, 2006 at 11:42 AM
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SOFIA, Bulgaria, May 1 (UPI) -- Bulgarian officials say they have no information about Romanian reports that Sofia's efforts to join the European Union would be delayed by a year.

Bulgaria is scheduled to join the EU on Jan 1, and a key European Commission report on steps Sofia has taken toward joining the union is due May 16. However, reports in Romania say Bulgaria will have to wait until 2008 to become an EU member.

The same report said Romania will be allowed to join the EU Jan. 1.

EU officials have warned Bulgaria to make judicial and anti-corruption reforms to meet EU standards. While officials in Sofia say they are making progress on those issues, Bucharest's Adevarul newspaper quoted diplomats in Brussels as saying the European Commission's May 16 report will recommend postponement of Bulgaria's entry by one year.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev told state-run Bulgarian radio he expected the European Commission will deliver an "objective and balanced" report on Bulgaria. Sofia officials said Bulgaria has fulfilled standards set by the EU for membership.

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