EU official Fazakas: Bulgaria was not ready to join EU in 2007

Written by on September 15, 2016 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on EU official Fazakas: Bulgaria was not ready to join EU in 2007

In the year 2006, the European Commission has ignored objections regarding Bulgaria’s and Romania’s EU accession. Many diplomats always thought so, but now, a high-ranking E.U. official confirmed that neither Bulgaria nor Romania were ready to join the EU on January 1 2007. Szabolcs Fazakas, of the European Court of Auditors (ECA) said that in July 2006, his authority had made clear that the two countries mentioned would have needed more time to prepare. But the European Commission had ignored those statements.

During the presentation of a so-called “meta-audit” about western Balkan states, which want to join the EU, Fazakas said that in 2006, as the head of the Budget Control Authority in the European Parliament, he had personally spoken to EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn and told him about deficits regarding Bulgaria and Romania. But Rehn had answered: “Too late. My hands are tied.”

At that point, the political decision for an accession of those two states had already been taken, Fazakas stated, according to Austrian media.

According to Fazakas, Rehn told him back then: “You are probably right.” But, his task had been to make sure the accession would happen on January 1st, 2007, without issues or incidents.

Due to issues with Bulgaria and Romania, such as the absence of judicial reforms and continued corruption problems, the situation in E.U. candidate states was being checked far more thoroughly now, Fazakas said. In several such states in the western Balkans region, there was hardly any willingness to go ahead with real reforms.

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Imanuel Marcus is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe. He is German and lives in Sofia. Contact: imanuelmarcus (at) gmail.com