ECONOMY

Failed EU referendums will not affect entry bids of Bulgaria and Romania

BUCHAREST (AP) – European Union Tax Commissioner Laszlo Kovacs said yesterday that failed referendums on the EU Constitution would not affect Romania’s and Bulgaria’s chances to join the bloc. Kovacs praised Romanian authorities for improving tax collection and simplifying customs procedures and urged the government to continue reforms. «Romania is on a good path,» he said. Romania and Bulgaria are scheduled to join the EU in 2007, but the two countries could face a one-year delay if they fail to reform their inefficient justice systems and enforce antitrust rules. Kovacs met with Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu and urged Romanian authorities to speed up training customs officers about EU regulations and continue to fight rampant tax evasion. He also warned that Romania needed customs software that is compatible with the EU system. Tariceanu said his government has been more aggressive in collecting back taxes. He added the government also has made progress in fighting corruption. «Currently, there are no longer accusations or suspicions of high-level corruption,» he said.