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Romania, Bulgaria Complete EU Entry Talks

14 December 2004 -- Romania and Bulgaria today completed tough membership negotiations with the European Union aimed at bringing them into the EU in 2007.

EU leaders are expected to confirm the joining date at a meeting this week, but the entry of the two states is not assured.

Their accession treaties contain "super safeguard clauses" to be used to delay their entry until 2008 if they are deemed not ready to join by 2007.

Additionally, Romania faces an extra hurdle. It may be kept out unless it accelerates reforms in justice and antitrust areas.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso congratulated Traian Basescu on his weekend election win as Romanian president. He said he is confident that under Basescu's leadership Romania will continue its preparation for EU membership and that all commitments taken will be fulfilled."

In Brussels, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Pasi said he is confident the EU leaders will confirm this week that Romania and his country can join the EU in 2007.