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The European Commission has confirmed the accession of Bulgaria and Romania by 1 January 2007.

The final monitoring report by the Commission indicates tougher conditions on their entry.

Areas of concern
Both countries will be closely monitored on the remaining areas of concern. For Bulgaria, these are the justice system, the fight against corruption, police co-operation and the fight against organised crime, money-laundering, integrated administrative control system for agriculture (IACS), transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE), and financial control. For Romania, these are further efforts in the justice system and the fight against corruption and IACS, Paying Agencies, TSE and interconnectivity of tax systems.

Safeguard measures
If the requirements are not met, the Commission has the possibility to invoke safeguards. Under the Accession Treaty, there are three types of safeguard measures: economic, internal market and JHA safeguards, which can be invoked up to three years after accession. These could effect food export bans and cuts to EU funds, such as agricultural and structural funds, as foreseen in the report. In addition, there are transitional arrangements, such as the restriction of free movement of workers from new member states. Also the Commission can take remedial measures to ensure the functioning of EU policies. This concerns the areas of food and air safety, agricultural funds, the judiciary and the fight against corruption.

Enlargement pause
Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said: I do not think it would be wise to proceed with any enlargements before we have resolved the constitutional issue in Europe. This may raise doubts about to Turkey and the Western Balkans joining the EU soon. Nevertheless, Barroso conceded that he would like Croatia to join as quickly as possible, if it fulfils all the criteria.

Latest & next steps:
The two countries will join as of 1 January 2007, unless the Council decides to postpone the accession until 2008. The Finnish presidency has promised that "the Council will abide by its agreements."

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