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Romania criticises Bulgaria over EU membership comments

Romania's European Integration Minister Hildegard Puwak has called a statement by Bulgarian European Affairs Minister Meglena Kuneva "a gesture lacking elegance and fair play," the local media reported. Kuneva was quoted as having said earlier in the day that her country does not want to be linked with Romania in EU accession talks because Romania's progress is considerably slower than Bulgaria's and the link might hinder Bulgaria's accession to the organisation. Kuneva said the difference in performances is acknowledged in the EU's forthcoming country-evaluation report.

Puwak said the EU's evaluation is based on individual country performances and on the implementation of EU legislation. "We are surprised that a Bulgarian official disregards this essential principle in the EU accession process, and we are surprised that Bulgaria knows the content of the report ahead of its release, which is due on October 9," Puwak said. She added that Romania continues to regard the year 2007 as its target accession date, and "it is Bulgaria's internal problem if it wishes to join earlier".

(NewsBase 07.x.02)

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