Romania prime minister visits France to discuss EU accession

Romania's prime minister left for France Thursday on a two-day visit to discuss bilateral economic ties and his country's bid to join the EU, the government said.

Calin Popescu Tariceanu is expected to meet with French counterpart Dominique de Villepin, National Assembly speaker Jean-Louis Debre and other officials and businessmen, according to a government statement.

The Romanian premier will present the reforms his Cabinet is carrying out to prepare the country for EU membership by 2007 and ask French legislators to ratify Romania's accession treaty with the EU, the statement said.

The visit is also meant to expand already strong economic ties. France is Romania's third largest commercial partner, with trade between the two countries totaling Ђ3.47 billion (US$4.1 billion) last year, the AP reports. AM

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