The European Commission has reported today on the progress made by Romania under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM). While the EC acknowledges the steps taken by Romania towards meeting its commitments on judicial reform and the fight against corruption, EC head Frans Timmermans warned against the danger of backtracking on the necessary reforms. 

The current report assesses the progress made to meet the 12 recommendations the EC issued in its previous CVM report, issued in January 2017.

The Commission’s last report analysed the overall progress made over the past ten years and pinpointed 12 specific recommendations which would help Romania move towards fulfilment of all CVM benchmarks. Today’s report acknowledges the progress that has been achieved on a number of recommendations, in particular that concerning the set up a system for checks on conflicts of interest in public procurement (PREVENT) has been satisfactorily implemented. The Commission also saw progress on other recommendations, subject to practical implementation.

In 2017 the momentum has stalled

However, the Commission notes that “the overall reform momentum in the course of 2017 has stalled, slowing down the fulfilment 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,” the EC said in a statement.

“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 fulfil 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,” the report reads.

“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,” the EC’s first Vice President Frans Timmermans said. “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.”

The CVM was set up in 2007 when Romania joined the European Union.

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