The European Jewish Congress (EJC) welcomes the recommendation by the European Commission paving the way for European Union membership of Romania and Bulgaria, following the improvements made by both countries in combating anti-Semitism and providing for improved Holocaust education.
“We have witnessed a positive progression the past years in Romania and Bulgaria, and the EJC has closely followed human rights developments, making sure that EU enlargement officials were aware of the situation” said President Besnainou.
“Romanian and Bulgarian Jews will have a promising future as European citizens, and EU membership will greatly benefit their communities. For this reason, I urge EU leaders to ratify the Commission’s recommendation.”
The EJC Secretary General Serge Cwajgenbaum also saluted this recommendation, adding, “Romania and Bulgaria must now guarantee the full restitution of Jewish communal and private property, and Romania should make sure that special care is devoted to the maintenance of the numerous Jewish cemeteries around the country” stated Secretary General Cwajgenbaum.
An EJC delegation met with Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov in July this year and with the Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu in May 2006 to show the EJC’s support of EU enlargement.
In February 2006, the EJC General Assembly adopted a resolution that calls on the European Commission and other EU institutions to go forward with the accession of Bulgaria and Romania into the European Union in 2007.
The resolution, jointly proposed by President of the Organization of Jews in Bulgaria Emil Kalo and Aurel Vainer, President of the Jewish Federation of Romania, declares that Jewish communities in the two countries are in favour of accession, and will benefit from becoming European citizens.
The EJC has addressed letters of congratulation to the Romanian and Bulgarian governments following the Commission’s announcement.
Romania is home to about 12,000 Jews while Bulgaria’s Jewish community is around 3,000.