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Bulgarian Minister Warns Government over EU Entry Date

Minister for European Integration Meglena Kuneva said on 18 March that Bulgaria must reform its judiciary in keeping with EU recommendations, as the country cannot afford to exacerbate skepticism over its possible EU accession, Bulgarian media reported.

Kuneva's comments came in response to EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen's warning on 17 March that Bulgaria and Romania must reform their judiciaries or face postponement of their EU memberships.

Verheugen urged Bulgaria and Romania to speed up judicial reforms to keep their EU efforts on track, adding that while he does not expect them to have perfect administrative systems, they still must meet the Copenhagen criteria for EU accession.

Kuneva also said she agrees with Verheugen's statement that talks over Bulgaria's budgetary framework might not be finalized by the end of this summer.

(RFE/RL 19.iii.04)

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