The Commission issued today its latest report in the context of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) applied to Romania. After 10 years of the CVM, the Commission took stock of steps taken by Romania on judicial reform and the fight against corruption, of the achievements, the outstanding challenges and the steps still needed to end the CVM.
First Vice-President Timmermans said, "Over the past 10 years as a member of the EU and carrying out the CVM reforms Romania has made major progress. The positive trend of Romania and Romanians to fight corruption and to protect the independence of the judiciary noted in the previous three years has continued in the last year too. The momentum built up so far allows the focus to shift to the key remaining steps which need to be taken to reach the CVM objectives and therefore to complete this important process under this Commission mandate, in line with the goal set by President Juncker. The speed of this process depends how quickly the Romanian authorities are able to take the remaining steps in an irreversible way, in a way that does not call into question the progress made so far. I hope in 2017 we will see the speed, determination and internal safeguards needed to complete the necessary reforms and ensure the irreversibility of the results. "
The Commission's 2014, 2015 and 2016 CVM reports highlighted a positive trend and a track record pointing to strong progress and growing irreversibility of reform. This trend is confirmed in the 2017 Report, with a continued track record for the judicial institutions and a strong impetus by successive governments to strengthen corruption prevention. Looking back on 10 years of the CVM shows that, despite some periods when the momentum of reform was lost and questioned, Romania has made major progress towards the CVM benchmarks. The Commission also considers that CVM should not be linked to other areas of EU law.
However, a number of key issues identified in earlier reports remain outstanding, so the Commission in this report cannot yet conclude that the benchmarks are satisfactorily fulfilled. The report therefore identifies a number of key recommendations to lead to the conclusion of the CVM process. Most of these recommendations focus on the responsibility and accountability required by the Romanian authorities and the internal safeguards needed to ensure the irreversibility of the results.
The closing of the CVM process under the current Commission's mandate, in line with the objective set by president Juncker, depends on how quickly Romania can fulfil the Commission's recommendations, in an irreversible way, and on the avoidance of negative steps which call into question the progress made so far. The Commission will work closely with the Romanian authorities and provide support where needed, and will assess progress made towards the end of 2017.
On 1 January 2007, the Commission established the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism to assess progress against the commitments made by Romania in the areas of judicial reform and the fight against corruption. The Commission reports on progress in these areas on a regular basis. The Commission issued its first report on 27 June 2007. The reports contain the Commission's assessment and recommendations to the Romanian authorities, and are complemented by a staff working document which sets out the Commission's detailed analysis against each of the benchmarks of the CVM.
The Commission analyses measures taken by the Romanian authorities, drawing on continuous dialogue between the Romanian authorities and the Commission services. The reports have also benefitted from contacts with Member States, civil society, international organisations, independent experts and a variety of other sources. The Commission's conclusions and the methodology of the CVM have consistently enjoyed the strong support of the Council of Ministers.
The previous CVM report was published on 27 January 2016. This new report concerns the period since then, as well as an overall review of progress during the 10 years in which the CVM has been in place. The next formal report is likely to come towards the end of 2017.
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