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Barroso says EU needs constitution before letting Turkey in

The European Union needs to overhaul its decision-making machinery before admitting Turkey and Croatia, European Commission President Jose Barroso said. The defeat of the EU's planned constitution leaves the bloc with a decision-making system that will be stretched to the limit once Bulgaria and Romania become members, Barroso said at a news conference in Brussels yesterday with French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin. „We can't continue enlarging again and again without clarifying the institutional issue,” he said. „As a president of the EU commission I think it would be unwise to bring in other member states apart from Romania and Bulgaria, who will be joining us soon.” The commission, the EU's executive arm, will rule on Tuesday whether Romania and southern neighbor Bulgaria can join as scheduled on January 1. Turkey, with entry talks under way since October, is seeking to join in 10 to 15 years. Croatia is also negotiating entry and Macedonia was declared an EU „candidate” last month. Bulgaria and Romania would expand the EU to 27 countries, the limit under current treaties. The constitution, designed to make an even larger EU run more efficiently, was vetoed last year in referendums in France and the Netherlands. EU leaders have put off trying to salvage the constitution until the end of 2008. Barroso said he hoped the EU would conclude negotiations with Croatia „as quickly as possible.” (Bloomberg)