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Europe head calls for EU enlargement halt pending constitutional progress

[JURIST] European Commission [official website] President Jose Manuel Barroso [official profile] suggested Monday that the EU temporarily halt membership enlargement [EC materials] after Bulgaria and Romania [EC profiles] join while the EU works to resolve institutional and constitutional problems. Though the Commission will likely announce on Tuesday that Bulgaria and Romania will be eligible to join the EU in January [Reuters report], Barroso's comments throw into question whether Croatia, Macedonia and Turkey [EC profiles] will be able to join, despite having already begun membership talks. Barroso stressed that the EU has a limited capacity to welcome new members without creating new rules and regulations for a larger bloc of countries to work together efficiently, but did express hope that Croatia will be able to join "as quickly as possible."

The current Nice Treaty [EC materials] requires that institutional changes be implemented once the bloc reaches 27 members, and the addition of Bulgaria and Romania will reach that number. The European constitution [JURIST news archive] has remained in limbo since voters in France and the Netherlands [JURIST reports] voted against it last year. BBC News has more. EUobserver has additional coverage.

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