The European Union has criticized newest members Bulgaria and Romania for making insufficient progress on combatting corruption and organized crime, but the two countries escaped sanctions.
EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini, in reports issued Wednesday, urged the two countries to be more aggressive in implementing anti-corruption and judicial reforms. The reports call for a tougher approach to meet specific EU benchmarks for progress in those areas.
Failure to meet those benchmarks could still lead to sanctions after a new report next June. The EU report noted that Bulgaria and Romania had achieved some progress in judicial reform, but called the overall picture unsatisfactory.
The EU report on Romania called for more progress in combating high-level official corruption and in reforming the judiciary. A separate report on Bulgaria was critical of the country's overall crime-fighting efforts.
The two countries gained EU membership in January.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.