Romania, Bulgaria still on track for 2007 accession
yesterday after the European Commission confirmed that the country,
and neighbours Bulgaria, were on track to join by 2007 -
encouraging news for food producers looking to benefit from new
The Commission's report, which also contained support for Turkey's eventual EU accession, said that Romania could be classed for the first time as having functioning market economy status, giving all its industry, including food, a higher prestige on the market.
Negotiations for Romania's entry to the big European family are now due to take place in 2005 with possible accession in January 2007, something which the country's food industry has been working hard to take advantage of - improving standards using pre-accession grants from the EU.
Costin Maruta, spokesperson for the Romanian food and drink association, recently told FoodProductionDaily.com that "preparations for accession are well in place for the food industry in Romania. We are very focused on meeting the requirements for EU legislation and we are working on a national level to implement food safety measures and HACCP systems throughout the industry."
Romania is currently upgrading standards and improving health and safety levels in fruit and juice production, together with canned vegetables, after doing the same with the country's dairy, bakery and meat processing sectors earlier in the year.
Accession may herald a new dawn for the Romanian and Bulgarian food industries, which would benefit from the final removal of most EU import duties, allowing them access to a much wider market.
Under the EU's Europe Agreement, set up to foster trade agreements between non-EU members and applicant countries, Romanian and Bulgarian import duties will also be wound down in the build up to accession, making those countries' markets more accessible and attractive to companies seeking to expand in the old Soviet bloc.