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EC to slam Bulgaria, Romania over corruption

The European Commission is expected to criticize Bulgaria and Romania over shortcomings in dealing with high-ranking corruption and organized crime.

The EC interim report on the progress of Bulgaria and Romania in implementing justice reforms, which is to be issued today, is expected to criticize both countries over insufficient results in corruption fight.There will be no sanctions in the report but the European Commission would invite Bulgaria and Romania to put more efforts in the fight against high-ranking corruption, unnamed sources at the EC told reporters.

The report is expected to mark Bulgaria's success in relation to constitution reforms and achieving more efficient judicial system but would also slam the government over the continuing shortcomings in dealing with organized crime.

According to experts, the report would also discuss duty-free shops at Bulgaria's borders, which are said to nourish corruption and drive back investors.

The language is going to be quite tough since there has been no great improvement since the last report, sources from the EU Commission told EUexpands earlier in the month.

The report is mid-term one and no conclusions of the reform process in the countries are going to be delivered.

A decision on the eventual triggering of a so-called “safeguard clause” will be contained in the final report due in June 2008.

Upon the EU accession of Bulgaria and Romania, the Commission spared both members from the clause that curtails rights such as access to financial aid, despite they did not meet the common standards.

The EU has instead adopted a mechanism to monitor the two countries' performance in the area of justice and their progress in meeting certain benchmark requirements. (novinite)