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Bulgaria on course for 2007 EU accesion
 

The European Commission (EC) report to be issued in May this year would likely recommend Bulgaria's on-time accession to the union. Both Bulgaria and Romania would be asked to continue the reform process in all problematic spheres.

This is the opinion of high-level EU sources, presented in the German daily Die Velt. In case Bulgaria and Romania slow down the reform process, the amount of EU funds the two countries will receive will likely go down.

Today European enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn will give his preliminary evaluation of the two countries' readiness to join the EU. Rehn would also make a recommendation concerning the accession date, the Bulgarian National Radio reported.

Bulgaria's reform progress in the five critical areas will aid the country's on-time membership, European Integration Minister Meglena Kouneva said. Yesterday Kouneva accepted the monitoring report of Open Society Institute.

The risk for the introduction of safeguard clauses for the justice and home affairs and agriculture sectors is still high, the report states. In its 2005 report the European Commission designated five reform areas as critical, BGNES news agency reported. Bulgaria received a recommendation to speed up reforms in these spheres to achieve on-time membership.

Company regulations, free access to goods and services, agriculture, regional policies and justice and home affairs feature among the critical areas.