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(13 September 2016) - The European Court of Auditors (ECA) lifted the veil on a little-known page of European history yesterday (12 September) when it revealed the Court had initially opposed the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the EU.

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Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in January 2007 despite the auditors’ opinion that they were not ready for accession, ECA said in a report published on Monday. The auditors said they wanted to avoid similar situations happening in future EU enlargements.

ECA member Istvan Szabolcs Fazakas, who presented to the press a ‘meta-audit‘ on the way EU pre-accession assistance was spent in the candidate countries of the Western Balkans, recalled his personal experience as Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Budgetary Control (COCOBU) in 2006, when Bulgaria and Romania were close to accession.

As Fazakas said, the ECA report for Bulgaria and Romania from July 2006 explicitly said that these countries needed more time to prepare for accession, so that European money could be absorbed in a correct way. (EurActiv / AFP)

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