The European Commission is still thinking whether to accept Romania and Bulgaria in the EU on January 1, 2007, Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said on Tuesday, shortly before Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn presented the expected report on the preparation of the two countries to join the Union before the European Parliament today.

The EC report mentions "yellow flags" for 16 of the chapters of economic, social and political reform in Romania's case, but only 4 red flags related to agriculture and taxation.

The two countries are ready to join the EU on January 1 next year, but under certain circumstances, Barroso said, warning that both countreis must continue their progress and improve the reform on their way to EU membership.

For his part, Olli Rehn proved a slighly more diplomatic tone than the report he presented before the EP today. He said that the Union must have guarantees that once the two countries become members they comply with all the necessary terms of the integration.

Rehn said the EC will have its final say on the 2007 date of the accession in October this year.

Just after the EC officials presented their findings, Romanian PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu made a press statement saying that the European evaluation was fair and objective and considerably better than any other such evaluation in the past. He said the report, with only 4 of the originally 14 "red flags" still speaking of the country’s problems with its reform process

The three of the four weak points are related to agricultural reform and one to fiscal issues, which means none of the fields where a safefuard clause might have postponed the accession by one year are still problematic.

Tariceanu said his government would continue its efforts in the field of justice reform and the fight against corruption despite the red flags were removed at this chapters.

The Romanian Presidency also took stand on Tuesday, saying the EC report was a real and credible insight of Romania's performance that includes the necessary arguments for the country to join the EU on January 1, 2007, without a reason to invoke the safeguard clause.

For his part, Romanian Foreign minister Razvan Mihai Ungureanu said Romania was the target of an unprecedented monitoring but the basic idea of the European Commission is that the accession date should be January 1, 2007.