Just a handful of newspapers see the stands in Romania on May 1, but their offer is plenty: Romania is "in" for EU accession in 2007, while Bulgaria "is not", Romanian handball beats football and a Vatican order heats up competition between Churches in this part of Europe.

The draft report the European Commission is due to publish May 16 says Romania should join the EU on January 1, 2007, but recommends the postponement of Bulgaria’s accession until 2008, according to "diplomatic sources in Brussels" quoted by Adevarul.

The possibility that the couple may break for the effective admission in the Union is mentioned in the Accession Treaty, but the final decision in this regard falls on the shoulders of the European Council in June or in Autumn 2006 the latest, the newspaper writes.

It also quotes Integration Ministry official Leonard Orban, who said he hoped a solution be found to allow Romania and Bulgaria join together in January 2007 as breaking up with Bulgaria was not in Romania’s interest.

One reason for the different opionions among EU leaders on Romania and Bulgaria is while the former produced significant results in the field of Justice reform and the fight against corruption, the latter is still late with results.

That’s why Cotidianul applauds Romanian Justice minister Monica Macovei who managed to face huge criticism from within the system and from the political stage for her merciless siege on well-placed suspicious members of the Judiciary and their political cronies.

The newspaper presents her results, from bringing operational independence to prosecutors and upgrading the facilities of courts to negotiating the biggest loan in the history of the World Bank.

The same newspaper announces another move that brings Romania more in line with EU standards, but aimed at improving state budget revenues. A series of price boosts is expected this week, but Cotidianul claims prices for tobacco and alcohol will stay the same for a while despite a deadline set in this regard.

The reason – cigarette and alcohol producers cannot compute the new, higher prices because they need a missing emergency ordinance to include "sin taxes" into existing excises.

But Evenimentul Zilei writes for its part that while the sin tax should have been introduced tomorrow, it may be a little late because of the missing ordinance. And it says that in the case of cigarettes it will boost the price by up to one third, or by at least 1 RON.

The same newspaper heralds a historical moment for members of the Greek Catholic Church in Romania. A ceremony in the city of Blaj upgraded the Romanian Greek Catholic Metropolitan Church to Major Archbishopric and the naming of Church leader Lucian Muresan as Archbishop Major.

The new status is hierarchically closer to the Romanian Patriarchy and only exists in one other European country, Ukraine, Evenimentul Zilei notes.

The event marks the start of an increasing competition on the Romanian religious market, Cotidianul considers.

The same Cotidianul – like most other newspapers today, hails the victory of the Romanian handball team Steaua against Sporting Club da Horta in the European Challenge Cup. The 37-17 victory compensates the devastating 4-2 loss Steaua registered in the UEFA Cup semifinals against Middlesbrough last week, the newspaper writes.

On the "Danube front", Adevarul reports that while waters started to recede after huge floods hit the Romanian banks of Danube, water pressure will stay high on local dykes for another month.

And tabloid Libertatea forecasts even more grim days as Danube "prepares another deluge". The paper warns the alarm level remains high in all counties along the river because of heavy rains in Europe over the last several days.