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Romanian President Traian Basescu during a visit to the Council of Europe, January 2006 (Courtesy Photo) April 3, 2006 -- European Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn today said Bulgaria and Romania could still achieve a January 2007 accession to the European Union.

Rehn praised Romania for efforts to fight corruption and made clear that neighboring Bulgaria is lagging behind by comparison.

Rehn told the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee that both countries must strengthen efforts to meet a 2007 deadline.

The European Commission publishes its final reports on both candidate countries on May 16.

The EU has reserved the right to postpone accession by a year if it feels either or both countries have failed to fulfill the required legislative reforms.

(Reuters, dpa)

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