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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 22 January 2014

Commission issues report on progress in Romania under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism

The report presents the Commission's analysis on the steps Romania has taken in the past twelve months and shows where further steps are needed.

President Barroso said, "This report shows that Romania has taken some significant steps. Many people in the key judicial and integrity institutions have shown a real commitment to reform. The report also shows that progress is not straightforward and that advances in one area can be negated by setbacks elsewhere. I hope this report will clearly highlight what still needs to be done to pursue and consolidate reform and ensure a positive and sustainable trend."

This report assesses the recent progress made by Romania in the two core CVM areas of judicial reform and anti-corruption work. This assessment shows that Romania has made progress in many areas since the previous CVM reports. The track record of the key judicial and integrity institutions has remained positive, even in the face of sometimes difficult circumstances. Necessary and long awaited legislative changes have remained on track, and a spirit of cooperation between judicial institutions and the Ministry of Justice is helping managerial issues to be tackled. In this sense the situation has benefited from the calmer political atmosphere of the recent past.

However, concerns about judicial independence remain and there are many examples of resistance to integrity and anti-corruption measures. The rushed and untransparent amendment of the Criminal Code in December 2013 sparked widespread concern as a challenge to the regime for tackling corruption and promoting integrity, even if the Constitutional Court showed checks and balances at work in ruling this unconstitutional. The important measure of key appointments shows a mixed picture, with some procedures running in an open, transparent and merit-based way whilst others are open to criticism on the grounds of political interference. Overall, the picture has consequences for the extent to which the reform process in Romania can be seen as sustainable and the positive developments deemed irreversible.

The Commission believes that the monitoring process of the CVM, the opportunities provided by EU funds and the constructive engagement of the Commission and many Member States continues to be a valuable support to reform in Romania. The Commission invites Romania to pursue and consolidate progress on its recommendations on the reform of the judiciary, integrity and the fight against corruption. The next report will come in around one year's time.

Background

On 1 January 2007, the Commission established a Cooperation and Verification Mechanism to assess the commitments made by Romania in the areas of judicial reform and the fight against corruption. 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. 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.

In January 2013, the European Commission reported with an assessment of Romania's progress towards the objective of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) as well as on specific questions about the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Romania, which had been raised by the events of summer 2012 in Romania. This built on the July 2012 report, which had highlighted a number of important institutional and legal steps taken since Romanian accession to the EU.

The Commission's analysis is based on an assessment of progress by the 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 Romania, and the reports also take into account the responses by Romania to detailed questionnaires prepared by the Commission.

The last annual report was published on 30 January 2013.

The report is available on the following website:

http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/secretariat_general/cvm/index_en.htm

Contacts :

Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen (+32 2 295 30 70)

Mark Gray (+32 2 298 86 44)


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