This week the European Commission gave candidate countries Bulgaria and Romania both a red card and a green light. The Commission said both nations could join the European Union on January 1st, provided they step-up reforms in a number of areas. Failure to do so would mean delayed entry into the EU. The Commission will assess their progress in autumn. The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, said both nations need to show clear results in order to avoid a delay in joining the EU. In Bulgaria's case, corruption and organized crime have been singled out as areas in need of urgent attention. Radio France International reports from Sofia.
Corruption, organized crime and money laundering are Bulgaria's and the European Commission's biggest headache. Romania still needs to prove that its recent crackdown on corruption and crime is irreversible. But the four red flags it received from the European Commission were all in technical areas such as agriculture. Radio Romania International reports from Bucharest.
While most of the attention this week focused on Romania and Bulgaria, two new EU members - Slovenia and Lithuania - were waiting for a green light from the European Commission to join the eurozone. The European Commission rejected Lithuania's application to join the single currency, saying the country's inflation was too high. But Slovenia was recommended to join the club - a first for an eastern European country. The former Yugoslav republic has long been a star economic performer in the region and will become the 13th country to adopt the Euro. How does Slovenia feel about joining the Euro - Radio Slovenia International has more.
In May 2004 as 10 new members joined the European Union Ireland, the United Kingdom and Sweden were the only countries to immediately open their labour markets to the new EU citizens. Since then, according to Ireland's official figures, around 10,000 Czechs have taken advantage of that opportunity to work there. Now - drawing on two years of experience - the Irish government has just launched an information campaign entitled "Know Before You Go" . Radio Prague reports from the Czech capital.
Well, Teachers at a school north of Gothenburg in Sweden decided in March to fail pupils in Social studies for demonstrating nazi or racist views in the classroom - which they argue "go against Sweden's Democratic values upheld in the curriculum". Now, the controversial decision has been supported by Sweden's National Agency for Education. Radio Sweden has the details.
This week's political debates in Europe have somehow taken second place to the real headline. Namely, the eagerly awaited world premiere of the Da Vinci Code at the Cannes film festival on Wednesday. Despite thumbs downs from critics no one doubts that it'll be a huge success. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown has sold more than 39 million copies. Some of the book's most dramatic scenes take place in London and there's so much interest in the various locations that the tour company, London Walks, is offering special Da Vinci Code Tours. Deutsche Welle reports from London.
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