Guido Podesta, the chairman of the joint Romania – EU parliamentarian group within the European Parliament, said he could guarantee Romania’s accession to the EU on January 1, 2007, but Bulgaria needs to be offered some help from Romania.

Podesta praised Romania’s progress and appreciated some of them as more substantial than other new member states made. He also said that Bulgaria lagged behind regarding some integration chapters and needed a hand from Romania to help it overpass the problems.

The Enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn said in Sofia on Thursday that January 1, 2007 is still an achievable date, if the chapters posing problems – justice, agriculture, copy rights, and border control - are tackled thoroughly.