EU envoy urges Bulgaria harder crime fight

Sept. 1, 2006 at 3:43 PM
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SOFIA, Bulgaria, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- The EU enlargement commissioner Friday urged Bulgaria to intensify it's anti-organized crime and corruption effort if it is to join the Western bloc in 2007.

In Sofia, EU commissioner Olli Rehn said Bulgaria has not done enough to reform the judiciary or curb organized crime and corruption, the Bulgarian SNA Sofia News Agency reported.

"My wish is to see Bulgaria a member of the European Union in January, but my duty as a guardian of the treaties is to ensure that Bulgaria joins when it is ready," Rehn said.

But, he did not offer anything concrete about an upcoming monitoring report by the European Commission on Bulgaria's readiness to join the European Union Jan. 1, as planned.

The EC evaluation report is scheduled for Sept. 26.

Meglena Kuneva, Bulgarian EU affairs minister, said the report will focus on measures which Bulgaria should undertake before the end of the year.

The Sept. 26 report should state whether Bulgaria and Romania are ready to join the EU on Jan. 1.

Under the worst scenario, the report could suggest a one-year delay, the SNA said.

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