The European Commission issued its latest report on steps taken by Romania to meet its commitments on judicial reform and the fight against corruption, in the context of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) set up when the country joined the European Union in 2007, informs a release of the Community Executive quoted by Agerpress.
The report looks concretely at the progress made to meet the 12 recommendations issued by the Commission in its January 2017 CVM Report.
"We have seen progress in some areas but there is still more work to be done. Romania has met some of our recommendations, but there is not enough progress yet on others. I count on the Romanian Government to pursue the necessary reforms, and to avoid backtracking, so that we can work together towards the goal of ending the CVM under this Commission's mandate," First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said.
The Commission's last report in January 2017 took stock of overall progress in the past ten years and identified 12 specific recommendations which would help Romania move towards fulfillment of all CVM benchmarks.
The report notes that progress has been achieved on a number of these recommendations, in particular the recommendation to set up a system for checks on conflicts of interest in public procurement (PREVENT) has been satisfactorily implemented.
The Commission also notes progress on other recommendations, subject to practical implementation. At the same time, the Commission notes that the overall reform momentum in the course of 2017 has stalled, slowing down the fulfillment of the remaining recommendations, and with a risk of re-opening issues which the January 2017 report had considered as closed.
Challenges to judicial independence are a serious source of concern, according to the release.
"The Commission cannot yet conclude that any of the CVM benchmarks are at this stage satisfactorily fulfilled, though progress has brought some benchmarks closer to this point. The Commission remains of the opinion that with loyal cooperation between State institutions, a political steer holding firm to past achievements and with respect for judicial independence, Romania will be able to fulfill the outstanding recommendations, and therefore satisfactorily meet the CVM benchmarks, in the near future. The Commission will assess progress again towards the end of 2018," says the release.