European Commission - Press release
Bulgaria and Romania: Further Improvements needed in judicial reform and fighting corruption
Brussels, 20 July 2011 - Bulgaria and Romania need to make further progress in judicial reform and in the fight against corruption and, in the case of Bulgaria, also in the fight against organised crime. The reports stress in particular that the judiciary in both countries should make greater reform efforts. The Commission makes a series of recommendations for further action in Bulgaria and Romania. In the summer of 2012, the Commission will make an overall assessment of Bulgaria and Romania's progress under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism since accession, and will make appropriate proposals in the light of this assessment. These are the main conclusions of the fifth annual reports under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism with Bulgaria and Romania adopted by the Commission today.
The report on progress in Bulgaria points to sustained political will and commitment of the Bulgarian Government to pursue its reform strategy. Bulgaria continued to reform the judicial system, strengthened legislation on conflict of interest and started a structural reform within the police and the criminal court system. At the same time, the report also notes that the fight against high-level corruption has not led to convincing results during the last twelve months and that overall result in the fight against organised crime need to be significantly improved. The leadership of the judiciary has yet to show a real commitment to judicial reform. The report concludes that there is an urgent need for considerable improvements in accountability and professional practice within the judiciary and the investigative authorities in order to achieve convincing results in the fight against corruption and organised crime.
The report on Romania points to the significant steps Romania took since the last annual report of July 2010. Romania improved judicial efficiency, re-established the legal basis of the National Integrity Agency, continued preparations for the implementation of the four new codes, launched preparations for a functional review of the judicial system and carried out an impact analysis of its anti-corruption policy. At the same time, the report also notes that consistency and results in a number of areas remain a challenge and that progress in the fight against corruption still needs to be pursued. The report concludes that Romania needs to take urgent action to accelerate high-level corruption trials and to prevent their prescription due to expiry of statute-barred periods. The fight against corruption should remain a top priority, with support from Parliament, and urgent measures should be taken to improve the recovery of proceeds of crime, the pursuit of money laundering and the protection against conflict of interest in the management of public funds.
As in previous reports, the Commission's analysis is based on an assessment of progress by the Bulgarian and Romanian authorities and on information by Member States, international organisations, independent experts and a variety of other sources. The Commission has carried out several missions to Bulgaria and Romania, including with the support of experts from other Member States. The reports also take into account the responses by Bulgaria and Romania to detailed questionnaires prepared by the Commission.
The Commission proposes to carry-out an overall assessment of progress under the CVM since accession in Bulgaria and Romania with the next annual assessment report in summer 2012. In the light of this assessment, the Commission will make appropriate proposals. The present report includes a number of specific recommendations to help both Member States to prepare for this overall assessment.
The Commission will continue to support Bulgaria and Romania in this endeavour and provide its next annual assessment of progress in summer 2012.
On 1 January 2007, the Commission established a Cooperation and Verification Mechanism to assess the commitments made by Bulgaria and Romania in the areas of judicial reform, fight against corruption and – for Bulgaria - organised crime. The Commission was asked to report on progress in these areas on a regular basis. The Commission issued its first report on 27 June 2007 and reported since then on a bi-annual basis. The Commission reports are complemented by a staff-working document which sets out the Commission's detailed analysis against each of the benchmarks set for the CVM.
The last annual reports were published on 20 July 2010. These have been supplemented by interim reports published on 20 February 2011.
A more detailed overview of the report on Bulgaria can be found in MEMO/11/525.
A more detailed overview of the report on Romania can be found in MEMO/11/528.
A more detailed overview of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism can be found in MEMO/07/260.
Copies of the full reports can be found at: