Many officials of the European Parliament but also from Bucharest agreed for that Romania should join the European Union on January 1, 2007 and not later as it is ready for EU membership. interviewed some of the most influential European and Romanian officials on this issue in advance of the May 16 report of the European Commission, expected to hint at a date Romania and its southern neighbor Bulgaria should join the EU.

Asked what would be the weakest point mentioned in the EC report tomorrow, most respondents mentioned the classical problem of corruption and the judiciary reform. Other issues related to agriculture or the IT system of the Finance Ministry were also mentioned. But the EC report should also mention the remarkable progress Romania has reported lately, they agree.

Even if the EC reports are seen as objective and technical, the conclusion of the report is a political one, they warn. And Romania is seen as worthy of EU membership, according to all respondents.

They also agree that the possibility that Romania be kept off track by Bulgaria is not seen as realistic by any of the Romanian interviewees of They say each country would be evaluated based on their own merits.

The news website quotes EP rapporteur for Romania Pierre Moscovici, who insists that in order to prove its worthiness of EU membership Romania should prove its pace of report is sufficiently enough and that the structural terms of accession are met.

He said the country evolved impressively since the fall of the Ceausescu regime and that considerable efforts were done to align Romania to EU legislative and administrative framework.

For Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, the head of European Socialists, most important is Romania’s capacity to co-finance EU projects and join not only the single market, but also the “Social Europe”.

The head of the EP Liberals and Democrats, Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck, says for her part that “the judicial organization and the state of law in Romania need further improvement, while she warns that there is no single model of integration or of statehood within the Union.

Meanwhile, Romanian EU Intengration minister Anca Boagiu says she believes in an objective report and is looking forward to the final decision on the EU enlargement, due at the European Council in June. “We believe in the transparency, correctness, honesty of the reports and of the information included in them”, she says.

Meanwhile, Romanian EP observer Daciana Sarbu says “if it is a favorable decision, it will be so because it’s their interest that we join in 2007”. She says Romania’s weak points that may get mentioned in the report are the problems with Romanian agriculture and administration.