IFPI supports Brussels on IP concerns.

The IFPI has welcomed a European Commission warning to Romania and Bulgaria to boost their efforts on counterfeiting and border enforcement.

The Commission -- European Union's executive authority -- said in a monitoring report that the two countries had to take "immediate action" in fighting corruption and piracy if they still hoped to join the 25-member EU by 2007.

The IFPI, which has continuously stressed border enforcement against rampant piracy, said the Commission stance echoed the record industry's long-held misgivings about Romania and Bulgaria's accession to the EU.

"We have long been pressing the Commission to ensure that blatant shortcomings in intellectual property enforcement in Bulgaria and Romania are dealt with," IFPI regional director for Europe Frances Moore said. More added that the trade body was “heartened” that the EU had taken these concerns on board as a key part of the accession assessment process. She said both countries face heavy cross-border trade in pirated materials, while their customs were not yet up to the task of defending what is supposed to become the EU's external border.

The IFPI says CD and DVD plants are still found producing illegal discs in Bulgaria, which recently adopted a relatively weak optical disc law. The IFPI also wants Sofia to improve its copyright law in key areas such as copy protection measures. It added that Romania's current copyright law amendment process is under close scrutiny as there is a clear tendency to try and undermine the position of the copyright sector.

The Commission's report said neither Bulgaria or Romania possess sufficient border infrastructure to cope with piracy or counterfeiting. "Specific restrictive measures may need to be imposed to prevent the internal security of the EU from being compromised," the report said, adding that Bulgaria has also failed to curb organized crime.

EU governments still have the option to delay accession by the Jan. 1, 2007 scheduled date if Romania and Bulgaria fail to make adequate progress in improving their laws to EU standards.