REGION: Newcomers Enter EU Parliament
16.01.2007 Bulgaria | Politics | Romania | SE Countries in EU
European Union newcomers Bulgaria and Romania are being formally welcomed to the European Parliament in Strasbourg
MEPs from the two accession countries are taking their seats for the first plenary session of parliament since they joined the EU on 1 January.
The 35 Romanian and 18 Bulgarian MEPs bring the parliament's total to 785. The new MEPs have been appointed by their national parliaments and will keep their seats until Euro elections in the two countries later in the year.
Translation booths have already been installed for the Romanian and Bulgarian languages, along with Irish, which is now the 23rd official language of the EU. The accession of Romania and Bulgaria has had one unintended consequence: it has allowed far-right parties from across the EU to meet the criteria to sit as a recognised political group and get funding - parties which mostly opposed EU membership for Romania and Bulgaria in the first place.
Source: B 92