The Commission issued today its analysis on the steps Romania has taken in the past twelve months in the areas of judicial reform and the fight against corruption, under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM). The report shows continued progress towards the goals of the CVM and shows where further steps are needed.
First Vice-President Timmermans said, "Romania is on the right course and needs to stick to it. Tackling corruption remains the biggest challenge and the biggest priority. We welcome the progress achieved over the past year, which will need to be confirmed in 2015. Confidence among Romanians about the judiciary in general, and the anti-corruption prosecution in particular, has increased also in view of an increased professionalism in the judicial system as a whole.
By continuing together under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, which has clear support from citizens, the Commission will continue to support Romanian efforts to deliver on the independence of senior judicial appointments, closing the outstanding legislative initiatives and systematically fighting corruption."
This report assesses the recent progress made by Romania. This assessment highlights a number of areas of continued progress showing signs of sustainability. The action taken by the key judicial and integrity institutions to address high-level corruption has maintained an impressive momentum. This has carried through into increased confidence amongst Romanians about the judiciary in general, and the anti-corruption prosecution in particular. This trend has been supported by an increased professionalism in the judicial system as a whole, including a willingness to defend the independence of the judiciary in a more consistent way, and a more proactive approach towards consistent jurisprudence. There is now an opportunity to test out this progress at moments of particular sensitivity, notably as concerns senior appointments.
At the same time, there remains a strong sense that progress needs to be consolidated and further secured. Whilst the implementation of the Codes (Civil, Civil Procedure, Criminal and Criminal Procedure) has shown the government and judiciary working together in a productive and pragmatic way, one year on, many legislative issues remain outstanding. There continues to be inconsistency in some court decisions, which raises concern. Decisions in Parliament on whether to allow the prosecution to treat parliamentarians like other citizens still seem to lack objective criteria and a reliable timetable. Parliament has also provided examples of reluctance to apply final court or Constitutional Court decisions. And whilst the recognition that general corruption needs to be tackled is certainly building inside government, the scale of the problem will need a more systematic approach.
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 continue to be a valuable support to consolidate reform in Romania. This is an assessment shared by citizens in Romania, as a newly published Flash Eurobarometer conducted in November 2014 shows: 79% of citizens in Romania agree that the EU should have a role in tackling corruption and shortcomings in the judicial system. In addition 73% of Romanians think the EU has had a positive impact on judicial shortcomings in the country, and 67% think it has had a positive impact on corruption.
The consensus for reform, and the confidence that progress is taking root, are on an upward trend, which now needs to be maintained. The Commission looks forward to continuing to work closely with Romania to secure the CVM's objectives and ensure the follow up to the recommendations included in the report adopted today. The next report is likely to come in around one year's time.
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.
The last annual report was published on 22 January 2014.
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.
A Eurobarometer assessing the opinions of the Romanian people on these issues has been published shortly before the report.
Memo on 2015 CVM Report for Romania MEMO/15/3824
The report is available on the following website: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/secretariat_general/cvm/index_en.htm
Source: Flash Eurobarometer 406, Romania Factsheet