EU member states in 2007
  New EU member states admitted in 2007

On 1 January 2007, Bulgaria and Romania became member states of the European Union (EU) in the fifth wave of EU enlargement.[1]


Romania was the first country of post-communist Europe to have official relations with the European Community. In 1974, a treaty included Romania in the Community's Generalized System of Preferences. Following the Romanian Revolution of 1989, membership of the EC, and its successor the European Union (EU), had been the main goal of every Romanian Government and practically every political party in Romania. Romania signed its Europe Agreement in 1993,[2] and submitted its official application for membership in the EU on 22 June 1995 and Bulgaria submitted its official application for membership in the EU on 14 December 1995, the third and the fourth of the post–communist European countries to do so after Hungary and Poland. Along with its official EU application, Romania submitted the Snagov Declaration, signed by all fourteen major political parties declaring their full support for EU membership.[3]

During the 2000s, Bulgaria and Romania implemented a number of reforms to prepare for EU accession, including the consolidation of its democratic systems, the institution of the rule of law, the acknowledgement of respect for human rights, the commitment to personal freedom of expression, and the implementation of a functioning free-market economy. The objective of joining the EU also influenced Bulgaria and Romania's regional relations. As a result, Bulgaria and Romania imposed visa regimes on a number of states, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Serbia, Montenegro, Turkey and Moldova.

Within the framework of integration meetings held between the EU member states and the EU candidate states Bulgaria and Romania, an 'Association Committee' was held on 22 June 2004. It confirmed overall good progress for the preparation of accession; however, it highlighted the need for further reform of judicial structures in both Bulgaria and Romania, particularly in its pre-trial phases, as well as the need for further efforts to fight against political corruption and organized crime, including human trafficking. The findings were reflected in the 2004 Regular Report for Bulgaria and Romania.[4]

The Brussels European Council of 17 December 2004 confirmed the conclusion of accession negotiations with Bulgaria and Romania.[5] The 26 September 2006 of the European Commission[6] confirmed the date once more, also announcing that Bulgaria and Romania would meet no direct restrictions, but progress in certain areas – reforms of the judicial system, elimination of corruption and the struggle against organized crime — would be strictly monitored.[clarification needed]


See also: Bulgarian language § Alphabet

5 euro note from the new Europa series written in Latin (EURO) and Greek (ΕΥΡΩ) alphabets, but also in the Cyrillic (ЕВРО) alphabet, as a result of Bulgaria joining the European Union in 2007.

With this accession, Cyrillic became the third official alphabet of the EU, after the Latin and Greek alphabets.[7] Cyrillic will also be featured on the euro banknotes and the national (obverse) side of the Bulgarian euro coins. The ECB and the EU Commission insisted that Bulgaria change the official name of the currency from ЕВРО (EVRO) (as accepted) to ЕУРО (EURO), claiming that the currency should have a standard spelling and pronunciation across the EU.[8] For details, see Linguistic issues concerning the euro. The issue was decisively resolved in favour of Bulgaria at the 2007 EU Summit in Lisbon, allowing Bulgaria to use the Cyrillic spelling евро on all official EU documents.[9][10]


Further information: Treaty of Accession 2005

The date of accession, 1 January 2007, was set at the Thessaloniki Summit in 2003 and confirmed in Brussels on 18 June 2004. Bulgaria, Romania and the EU-25 signed the Treaty of Accession on 25 April 2005 at Luxembourg's Neumuenster Abbey.

The 26 September 2006 monitoring report of the European Commission confirmed the entry date as 1 January 2007. The last instrument of ratification of the Treaty of Accession was deposited with the Italian government on 20 December 2006 thereby ensuring it came into force on 1 January 2007.

Work restrictions

Further information: Citizens' Rights Directive and Freedom of movement for workers in the European Union

Some member states of the EU required Bulgarians and Romanians to acquire a permit to work, whilst members of all other old member states did not require one. In the Treaty of Accession 2005, there was a clause about a transition period so each old EU member state could impose such 2+3+2 transitional periods. Restrictions were planned to remain in place until 1 January 2014 – 7 years after their accession.[11][12][13]

Establishment of rights of EU nationals of Bulgaria and Romania to work in another EU member state
Another EU member state Bulgaria Romania
Finland 1 January 2007 1 January 2007
Sweden 1 January 2007 1 January 2007
Cyprus 1 January 2007 1 January 2007
Estonia 1 January 2007 1 January 2007
Latvia 1 January 2007 1 January 2007
Lithuania 1 January 2007 1 January 2007
Poland 1 January 2007 1 January 2007
Czech Republic 1 January 2007 1 January 2007
Slovakia 1 January 2007 1 January 2007
Slovenia 1 January 2007 1 January 2007
Portugal 1 January 2009 1 January 2009
Spain 1 January 2009 1 January 2009 (reintroduced on 1 January 2011 and removed on 1 January 2014)
Greece 1 January 2009 1 January 2009
Denmark 1 January 2009 1 January 2009
Hungary 1 January 2009 1 January 2009
Italy 1 January 2012 1 January 2012
Ireland 1 January 2012 1 January 2012
France 1 January 2014 1 January 2014
Germany 1 January 2014 1 January 2014
Austria 1 January 2014 1 January 2014
Belgium 1 January 2014 1 January 2014
Netherlands 1 January 2014 1 January 2014
Luxembourg 1 January 2014 1 January 2014
United Kingdom 1 January 2014 1 January 2014
Malta 1 January 2014 1 January 2014

Remaining areas of inclusion

Bulgaria and Romania became members on 1 January 2007, but the application of certain policy areas of the European Union to Bulgaria and Romania was deferred to a later date. These were:


While both countries were admitted, concerns about corruption and organised crime were still high. As a result, although they joined, they were subject to monitoring from the European Commission through a Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification (CVM). It was initially set up for three years after the accession but has continued indefinitely and although it has highlighted the corruption and applied some pressure to continue reforms, it has not succeeded in forcing the two countries to complete reforms and corruption persists.[14][15] In 2019 however, the European Commission stated that it will admit Bulgaria in the Schengen area for its efforts against corruption.[16]


Further information: List of European Commissioners by nationality

The accession treaty granted Bulgaria and Romania a seat, like every other state, on the Commission. Bulgaria nominated Meglena Kuneva, from NDSV who was given the post of Commissioner for Consumer Protection in the Barroso Commission, from 1 January 2007 until 31 October 2009. She was nominated in 2006 by the then current Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev. Romania nominated Leonard Orban, an independent, who was made Commissioner for Multilingualism in the Barroso Commission, from 1 January 2007 until 31 October 2009. He was nominated in 2006 by the previous Romanian Prime Minister Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu. Both were approved by Parliament to become Commissioners upon accession.


Further information: List of members of the European Parliament for Bulgaria (2007–2009) and MEPs for Romania 2007–2009

Upon accession Bulgaria's 18 and Romania's 35 observer MEPs became full voting representatives until each state held an election for the posts, which were mandated to happen before the end of the year. Bulgaria held its election on 20 May 2007 and Romania on 25 November 2007.


Member countries Capital Population Area (km²) GDP
(billion US$)
per capita (US$)
 Bulgaria[1] Sofia 7,761,000 111,002 62.29 8,026 Bulgarian
 Romania Bucharest 22,329,977 238,391 204.4 9,153 Romanian
Accession countries 30,090,977 349,393 266.69 8,863 2
Existing members (2007) 464,205,901 4,104,844 12,170.11 26,217
EU27 (2007) 494,296,878

See also


  1. ^ Enlargement, 3 years after Archived 25 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Europa (web portal)
  2. ^ Chronology of the Fifth EU Enlargement, Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom
  3. ^ Melanie H. Ram, PhD, Sub-regional Cooperation and European Integration: Romania’s Delicate Balance
  4. ^ "EUROPA - Enlargement : Report 2004". 27 April 2006. Archived from the original on 27 April 2006.
  5. ^ "Wayback Machine" (PDF). 25 March 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 March 2009.
  6. ^ "monitoring report" (PDF).
  7. ^ Leonard Orban (24 May 2007). "Cyrillic, the third official alphabet of the EU, was created by a truly multilingual European" (PDF). Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Николай Василев ще брани в Брюксел изписването "евро" вместо "еуро"" (in Bulgarian). 7 November 2006. Archived from the original on 2 June 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2007.
  9. ^ "Bulgaria wins victory in "evro" battle". Reuters. 18 October 2007.
  10. ^ "Kapital Quarterly #15| Business report".
  11. ^ "4 EU nations ease work restrictions on new members". Associated Press. 8 January 2008. Archived from the original on 13 August 2020. Retrieved 8 January 2008.
  12. ^ See also: Freedom of movement for workers
  13. ^ "Work permits". Your Europe.
  14. ^ EU commission defends Romania-Bulgaria monitoring project EUObserver, March 2010; Bulgaria and Romania in trouble for a too fast EU integration. EuropaRussia, September 2010.
  15. ^ EU Observer, 4 January 2011
  16. ^ EU slams Romania for not tackling corruption, Deutsche Welle, Retrieved on February 2020. "'The Commission notes in particular the commitment of the Bulgarian government to put in place procedures concerning the accountability of the prosecutor general, including safeguarding judicial independence'" the report read...Both Croatia and Bulgaria are working towards Schengen membership." Archived on the Wayback Machine