Romania EU Integration minister Anca Boagiu said on Sunday she was very optimistic about Romania join the EU on January 1, 2007, a date that she believes cannot be modified even by the application of a safeguard clause that allows Brussels to postpone the accession of Romania and Bulgaria unless the two produce enough reform before the end of 2006.

While admitting that the possibility of an activated safeguard clause for the fields where much is still to be done in terms of reform - agriculture, veterinary works and taxation - Boagiu explained that everything will be clear once the European Commission publishes its last monitoring report on Romania and Bulgaria on September 26.

The activation of the safeguard clause for any of the “red-flag” issues can lead to a reduction of annulment of European funds for the country.