Romanian president worries about EU security

Romanian President Traian Basescu is sure that the European Union is having trouble ensuring its own security.

The Romanian leader, who arrived Monday in Paris for a two-day visit, said only the United States and Britain are "really interested" in the security of the Black Sea states.

"I know some leaders will say the opposite, but I am obliged to state that only the Americans and the British are really interested in the countries neighboring the Black Sea," Basescu was quoted as saying in Monday's Le Figaro.

The EU, he said, "has trouble ensuring its security alone."

Romania is scheduled to join the 25-member union in 2007, but the European Commission this month urged Bucharest to speed up efforts to tighten border security and fight high-level corruption.

French President Jacques Chirac reminded Basescu of the need to hasten reforms in talks Monday. Chirac's office said he reiterated France's support for Romania's "full membership in the European Union, which involves (Romania) fulfilling all its commitments."

Basescu told Chirac he hoped France's parliament would quickly ratify Romania's EU accession treaty, to which the French leader replied that "parliament would take up the matter as soon as possible," Chirac's office said.

In Le Figaro, Basescu declined to comment on the content of an upcoming military accord with the United States other than to say that "we must not think in terms of traditional bases of hundreds of thousands of men."

Leading a delegation including economic advisers and government ministers in Paris, Basescu was also was to meet with parliamentary and business leaders and speak on security issues in a conference at the French Institute of International Relations, the AP reports.


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