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EU increases pressure on Romania to implement economic and political reforms

The European Union has increased pressure on Romania to implement a long list of still-needed economic and political reforms if it wants to meet the target of joining the EU in 2007. Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase's visit to Brussels this week came after the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee adopted a report citing "serious difficulties" with Romania's application.

"It's quite clear that there are still many things to be done in Romania," Nastase acknowledged after meeting with European Commission President Romano Prodi. Prodi said the EU Commission, which is conducting the accession talks, "shared many of the parliament's.assessments and objections." "I urged the prime minister to tackle with energy the problem of administrative and judicial reform and the problem of corruption," he said. "I told the prime minister to work harder to increase the speed."

Nastase presented Prodi and EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen with a four-page "list of priority actions" his government will aim to complete by the end of June. The list includes implementing reforms of Romania's penal and civil code as well as strengthening the powers of the national prosecutor's office to combat corruption. Also contained were commitments to push through other judicial reform measures like stronger child protection laws to govern international adoptions and strengthening freedom of the press.

(NewsBase 1.iii.04)

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