March 5, 2010
This question was recently raised at round tables held in Paris and Berlin.
My short answer is no. Bulgaria and Romania are countries with a more difficult transition, but keeping them out for longer would have been a worse choice. I didn’t say a worst mistake.
Let’s not forget that Sofia and Bucharest were promised accession on 1 January 2007 s couple of years before. Just imagine the popular resentment.
Some people argue that the EU made a mistake in promising accession dates to Bulgaria and Romania, and this is why no dates are mentioned any more for no other candidate, even Croatia. Also, Bulgaria and Romania joined as a group, and since nobody at the Commission mentions any longer group admittance in the EU club.
What I would like to remind is that the accession of Bulgaria and Romania was unavoidable from one particular moment. Bulgaria agreed to close four nuclear reactors of its Kozloduy nuclear power plant, which was to a great extent a deal linked to its accession on 1 January 2007. I remember how anxious the Romanian ambassador in Sofia was at the time, because any setback with Bulgaria would have complicated Romania’s accession prospects too.
Accession is always a deal. I realise I’m in a slight contradiction with Commission officials who say it’s about meeting the criteria.Georgi Gotev