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Poll, Juncker interview: Hopes renewed for Romania, Bulgaria accession in 2007

Joi, 11 mai 2006, 0:00

Romania and Bulgaria have a 70% chance to join the European Union in January 2007, according to a Reuters poll among representatives of European academic and financial institutions published today.

The news comes as Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker said Romania and Bulgaria would join the EU on the scheduled date of January 1, 2007.

The Reuters poll comes as the two countries brace for the impact of the May 15 European Commission report due to evaluate the readiness of the two countries to join the EU next year.

The results are seen as positive taking into account the lack of progress in Romania when it comes to the tax collecting system or, in Bulgaria’s case, the lack of real advances in fighting graft and organized crime.

30 out of 40 respondents in the Reuters study say chances that Romania and Bulgaria would join the EU early next year are over 50%. But some believe the EU may postpone the accession date by a year or choose the path of compromise – accession in mid-2007.

Jean-Claude Juncker told Le Jeudi weekly that he believed the two countries would receive the membership in January next year, but that they still needed considerable efforts in the judicial reform and the fight against corruption.

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