14th Aug 2022

Bulgaria's new government commits itself to EU goal

Bulgaria's new government has committed itself to working towards the goal of EU membership, planned for the beginning of 2007.

After almost two months of uncertainty as the country tried to form a coalition following the June elections, a new coalition was finally approved by the parliament on Tuesday (16 August).

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  • The EU has the option of delaying membership until 2008 (Photo: European Commission Audiovisual Library)

Socialist party leader Sergey Stanishev, who took over as prime minister on Wednesday, said his government would make accession to the bloc it main priorities along with economic growth.

"EU membership is our chief national priority and we will do everything needed to make up for the delay in fulfilling our EU commitments," said Mr Stanishev, who succeeds Simeon Saxe-Coburg as prime minister.

His words came as speculation had mounted as to whether the delay in forming a government had knocked Sofia off its EU course.

An EU team will be sent to Bulgaria later this month to assess the country's progress towards its goals - among the reforms to be carried out include tightening up the judiciary system.

The European Commission will then publish its yearly progress report in autumn, which will influence whether or not the country will actually join on 1 January 2007.

"September 25 is the deadline for us to report our progress to the European Commission" before they produce their report a month later, outgoing European integration Minister Meglena Kuneva who retained her post in the new cabinet told national television on Wednesday, according to AFP.

"But if we accomplish our engagements nothing can endanger accession," added the minister.

For both Bulgaria and Romania, the other accession country, the EU has the option of delaying membership by up to one year if it feels not enough reforms have been carried out.

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