Experts available to comment on Bulgaria, Romania joining European Union

Published: December 22 2006


GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two former Communist countries, Bulgaria and Romania, will ring in the new year as members of the European Union on Jan. 1 — signifying the stability of their democracies.

The following experts at the University of Florida’s Center for European Studies are available to comment on the accession of the two countries into the union, as well as provide broader insight into the history and politics of the union and Europe as a whole:

  • Amie Kreppel, director of the UF Center for European Studies and the European Union Studies Program, is available to comment on the European Union in general and the politics of Europe and its institutions. 352-392-8902, ext. 210,
  • Petia Kostadinova, assistant director of the Center for European Studies, is a native of Varna, Bulgaria, and an expert on the economies of former Communist countries. She can discuss the economics of the European Union and Bulgaria’s accession in particular. 352-871-4590,
  • Florin Curta, an associate professor of medieval history, is an archeologist who has excavated several sites throughout Romania. A former resident of Bucharest, Romania, he can discuss the European Union in general and Romania’s accession in particular. 352-380-0432,

The European Union is a group of countries in Europe committed to the shared goal of promoting peace, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights both within and outside of its borders. Current members include France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. Three other countries are recognized as official candidates for membership — Turkey, Croatia and Macedonia — and there are a number of countries that have expressed an interest in applying, including Ukraine, Yugoslavia and Albania.

Before joining the union, applicant countries must prove they have stable and functioningdemocracies with regular free and competitive elections, demonstrate an adherence to the rule of law, and promote the protection of human and minority rights. Once accepted, members must adopt a set of laws and regulations governing the union.

The University of Florida Center for European Studies was established in 2003 and is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education as a Title VI National Resource Center. It is one of just 10 European or Western European Title VI Centers in the U.S. Its goal is to foster a rich academic and cultural environment in Florida and offer a broad range of language and area studies courses, degree options and study abroad opportunities for university students.