Brussels warns EU hopeful Romania over child adoptions

Source: www.eubusiness.com24 February 2004

The European Commission issued a barely-veiled warning to Romania
Tuesday to adopt new child protection laws to get its troubled EU
membership bid back on track.

With EU lawmakers demanding Brussels break off talks with Bucharest
because of the unchecked adoption of Romanian children by Western
couples, the EU executive stepped up its warnings to the Balkan country.

“We have been saying for weeks now that the highest priority for Romania
is to adopt comprehensive legislation on the protection of children,”
said Jean-Christophe Filori, a commission spokesman for enlargement

“We’re not talking here about quotas of cotton or something. We’re
talking about children. This is a matter of human rights,” he told

Romania, along with Bulgaria, is hoping to join the EU in 2007, in the
bloc’s next planned enlargement following the entry of 10 more member
states in May. It is hoping to wrap up the accession talks by the end of
this year.

But Bucharest’s bid has run into trouble at the European Parliament,
where lawmakers have repeatedly criticised a lack of progress in key

The parliament’s rapporteur on Romania, Emma Nicholson, has called for
the commission to break off accession talks with the country,
criticising in particular the adoption of Romanian children by couples
in wealthy EU member states.

Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase is likely to face tough
questioning during regular talks in Brussels Wednesday with EU
commission chief Romano Prodi and Enlargement Commissioner Guenter

Nastase’s government is under pressure from Brussels to speed up reforms
in several areas including administrative capacity, the fight against
corruption and reform of the judiciary.

Filori said the commission took no position on whether international
adoptions should be allowed.

“That is not the point here. The point is that in Romania, you don’t
have proper legislation on the protection of children which is in line
with the standards set by the UN and the various international
conventions,” he said.

“In this framework (of proper legislation), you can imagine a new
adoption system.”