And now let’s go south a little, to Thessalonika where the EU is having a big meeting to decide on it’s constitution, and Bulgaria is looking for an accession timetable, but things don’t seem to be too promising. Incidentally, note the growing Spanish connection at the end, as I am trying to suggest, this may be more than mere coincidence. Solomon Passi is Bulgaria’s foreign minister.
Bulgaria and Romania were not invited to join the EU in along with 10 other eastern and southern European nations because of their slow economic progress, but hope to join in 2007.
Passi said that it would not be easy for the EU to recognise 2004 as the year to end negotiations, but this would create a positive precedent if it happened, Bulgarian National Radio said. “The other countries which joined the EU did not have any dates fixed in advance. I cannot promise at this time that we would be able to achieve this goal, but if we are not successful now, we will have to try again at the summit meeting in Rome at the end of the year”, he told BNR in an interview.
Passi was speaking just a day after he returned from Brussels where he paid a working visit to EU headquarters. Statements by senior officials there were not very encouraging. The EU’s Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner, Anna Diamantopoulou, told Passi that it was doubtful that Bulgaria would be given a fixed accession date in Thessaloniki. EU enlargement commissioner Guenther Verheugen was even more straightforward: “Bulgaria cannot expect to receive a set date for finalisation of the accession talks at thesummit in Thessaloniki,” he said after meeting Passi in Brussels. (more…)