In its yearly report on the progress achieved by Romania on its way to completing accession negotiations, the European Commission concludes that Romania can be ready for membership by January 2007. But the conclusion is based on the assumption that Romania as well as Bulgaria will make further progress on meeting the EU's political and economic criteria.
More still needs to be done to ensure that the EU body of rules, the acquis, is adopted, implemented and enforced. Wanting to make sure that Romania's and Bulgaria's membership of the EU is successful, the European Commission will conduct enhanced monitoring, and as a fall-back measure, it envisages a specific safeguard clause in the Accession Treaty which would allow the Commission to recommend postponing the date of accession of either of them to January 2008 "if there is clear evidence that there is a serious risk that Bulgaria or Romania will be manifestly unprepared to meet the requirements of membership by 1 January 2007 in a number of important areas".
Among the additional improvements to be made in order to meet the EU's criteria, the Regular Report on Romania mentions: a reduction in the use of emergency ordinances, fully implementation of laws on the freedom of information and transparency in the legislative process, improvement of the policy-making and legislative process, strengthening of local and regional governance with a view to ensuring proper implementarion of the acquis, improvement of court cases management and judgments quality, effective implementation of the anti-corruption law, additional efforts to ensure the independence, effectiveness and accountability of the National Anti-Corruption Prosecution which should concentrate its resources on investigating high-level corruption, efforts to guarantee media independence, as many media organisations' economic situation remains precarious, a more speedy approach to further the restitution of buildings and religious property, vigorous implementation of a structural reform programme so that Romania's functioning market economy should cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the Union.