A Union of 27 members as Bulgaria and Romania finally join the EU
The European Union welcomes the successful accession of its new members Bulgaria and Romania, who became official members of the EU on 1 January 2007. The accession of these two countries marks another step forward in the Enlargement process, begun in the 1990s when 12 countries mostly from Central and Eastern Europe, submitted their applications for EU membership.
Since its foundation 50 years ago, the EU has been a magnet, attracting a constant stream of new members. The historical accession of ten Member States in May 2004 is the largest Enlargement in the history of the EU. The inclusion of Bulgaria and Romania now completes this successful process of integration, rewarding EU efforts to help foster peace, democracy and prosperity across Europe.
As happened for the previous enlargements, in order to fulfil all the necessary criteria of accession, Bulgaria and Romania had to go through a significant process of reforms and modernisation. In congratulating the people and leaders of the two countries on their historical achievement, the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, announced that special accompanying measures will follow the accession of Bulgaria and Romania. These measures will allow a degree of vigilance over certain areas, where it is believed there is still some work to be done. Control measures will be set up in the areas of judicial reform, the fight against corruption and organized crime, agricultural spending and in the area of food safety.
In response to European citizens’ questions and fears regarding present and future enlargements, the Commission adopted on 8 November 2006 a strategy for the EU’s enlargement policy. Improved impact studies, benchmark activities and other concrete measures will allow the EU to better evaluate the impact of accessions. The Commission has also recognised the need to listen more to the citizens of the EU, and to assist the efforts of the Member States in promoting communication and dialogue with civil society.