Frans Timmermans, vice president of the European Commission is presenting the main conclusions of the CVM report for Romania and Bulgaria. According to G4Media, Bulgaria’s evaluation in this report is much better than Romania’s, as our country has only fulfilled two out of its 12 previous recommendations. The report also adds more recommendations on justice laws and criminal codes.
Main statements of Frans Timmermans, vice president of the European Commission:
The second subject on the agenda was CVM for Romania and Bulgaria. President Juncker was set the agenda to conclude the CVM until the end of his mandate.
There are progresses in Bulgaria. If this trend continues in Bulgaria, the CVM for Bulgaria could be concluded until the end of this Commission’s mandate.
While some steps have been taken to implement the final recommendations from January 2017, the developments over the last 12 months sadly have put into question and in some cases even reversed the progress made over the last 10 years.
As you know, in our reports we have published previously we also had a look of the last 10 years and remarkable progress was achieved over the 10 years.
So, to now see forms of regresses is really, really sadly.
This is specifically the case with regard to the amended justice laws, the pressure on judicial independence in general, and the pressure on the National Anticorruption Directorate in particular.
We’re therefore setting out 8 additional recommendations for immediate follow up. Those measures are essential to put the reform process back on track and resume the path towards the conclusion of the CVM.
To give you some examples, we’re asking Romania to immediately suspend the implementation of the justice laws and subsequent emergency ordinances – and this is completely in line with what we already indicated previously to the Romanian government and also in a letter I wrote recently and it is in line with the advices they have been getting from the Venice Commission and GRECO of the Council of Europe as well.
So, they should revise those laws and ordinances and take into account our recommendations and those of the Venice Commission and GRECO.
We’re asking to suspend all ongoing appointments and dismissal procedures for senior prosecutors immediately and to relaunch a process to appoint a chief anticorruption prosecutor.
And we’re asking to freeze the enter into force of changes to the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code.
Let me add one more important point that goes for both countries. The report also takes note of a broader factor: free media.
It is a point that goes beyond the scope of CVM but it has an impact on the advance of the judicial reform and the fight against corruption.
The media and civil society should be able to hold those exercising power to account in a pluralistic environment, free from pressure.
This is not only important to pursue the necessary reforms covered by the CVM, it is also the bedrock of any well governed democracy.
We need the media to be able to work free from pressure. It is essential in any European democracy.
We sadly have to conclude that Romania is now running in the other direction. I really want to encourage both governments to continue and finalize the CVM.