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European Commission - Statement

Joint Statement of European Commission President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans on the latest developments in Romania

Brussels, 24 January 2018

We are following the latest developments in Romania with concern. The independence of Romania's judicial system and its capacity to fight corruption effectively are essential cornerstones of a strong Romania in the European Union.

The irreversibility of the progress achieved so far under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism is an essential condition to phase out the Mechanism.

In its latest Report under the Mechanism in November 2017, the Commission highlighted that the Government and the Parliament should ensure full transparency and take proper account of consultations in the legislative process on the justice laws. The Commission also made clear that a process in which judicial independence and the opinion of the judiciary is valued and given due account, also drawing on the opinion of the Venice Commission, is a prerequisite for sustainability of the reforms and an important element in fulfilling the CVM benchmarks.

The Commission's assessment was supported by Member States in Council Conclusions adopted in December 2017.

The latest CVM Report identified the justice laws as an important test of the extent to which the legitimate interests of judicial and other stakeholders are given an opportunity to be voiced, and are taken sufficiently into account in the final decisions. Events since then have done nothing to address these concerns.

The Commission calls on the Romanian Parliament to rethink the course of action proposed, to open up the debate in line with the Commission's recommendations and to build a broad consensus on the way forward. The Commission reiterates its readiness to cooperate with and support the Romanian authorities in this process.

The Commission again warns against backtracking and will look thoroughly at the final amendments to the justice law, the criminal codes and laws on conflict of interest and corruption to determine the impact on efforts to safeguard the independence of the judiciary and combat corruption.


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