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EU Enlargement Commissioner Urges Support for Bulgarian, Romanian Entry

The European Union's top enlargement official is urging EU lawmakers to back Bulgarian and Romanian EU membership in the vote on their accession next month.

EU Expansion Commissioner Ollie Rehn assured the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, who are meeting in Brussels, that approval of accession treaties with the two countries April 13 will not guarantee them automatic entry in 2007. He said the treaties allow EU leaders to delay their entry, particularly that of Romania, by as much as a year if they do not implement agreed economic, judicial and political reforms.

Many European Parliament members would like to maintain some control of the two countries' accession process even after the vote confirming the treaties. Meanwhile, the expansion commissioner assured lawmakers EU leaders will take their views into account as the accession process continues.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.