Sat. Nov 26th, 2022

Brussels, 22 November 2022

Why does the Commission report on progress in judicial reform and the fight against corruption in Romania?

At the accession of Romania to the European Union on 1 January 2007, certain shortcomings remained in the areas of judicial reform and the fight against corruption. These weaknesses had the potential to prevent an effective application of EU laws, policies and programmes, and prevent Romanians from enjoying their full rights as EU citizens. Therefore, the Commission undertook to assist Romania in remedying these shortcomings and to regularly verify progress against specific benchmarks through the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM). Since then, the Commission has been reporting on Romania’s progress in meeting the CVM benchmarks regularly, also making recommendations to support the reform process.

This 2022 CVM report positively notes Romania’s significant efforts to implement the outstanding recommendations through new legislation, policies and tools to develop the judiciary and combat corruption.

The Commission concludes that the progress made by Romania is sufficient to meet the CVM commitments made at the time of its accession to the EU and that all benchmarks can be satisfactorily closed. The assessment also takes account of the developing landscape for the rule of law in the EU, and in particular Romania’s full engagement in the rule of law report cycle.

How long will the CVM last?

In line with the decision setting up the mechanism and as confirmed by the Court of Justice of the EU, the CVM will be brought to an end when all the benchmarks are satisfactorily met. The 2022 report concludes that progress made under the CVM is sufficient to meet Romania’s commitments at the time of its accession to the EU.

Romania committed to continue its work on ongoing reforms, such as on the Criminal Codes, and to ensure that all adopted reforms, including the recent justice laws, are implemented effectively and in accordance with EU law and European standards.

The effective implementation of Romania’s commitments and the continuation of the positive pace of reforms will continue to ensure that progress made is sustainable and irreversible, allowing for the CVM to be successfully closed. Before reaching a final decision, the Commission will consider the observations of the Council, as well as of the European Parliament. The Commission will revert to this issue in the case of both Bulgaria and Romania in the coming months.

Will the Rule of Law Mechanism or the Rule of Law Report replace the CVM?

Now that Romania has satisfactorily met its obligations as set out in the CVM mechanism at the time of its accession to the EU, the Commission will no longer monitor Romania under the CVM. The monitoring will continue within the annual rule of law report cycle as for all Member States.

The justice system and anti-corruption frameworks are two of the areas covered for all Member States under the annual Rule of Law reports. The scope of the Rule of Law reports extends to issues with an important bearing on reform capacity and sustainability, such as the quality of legislation and the legislative process, the role of independent institutions in ensuring checks and balances, the enabling environment for civil society, and media freedom and pluralism.

A number of rule of law-related issues – notably the effectiveness of justice systems, the fight against corruption and the quality and inclusiveness of the law-making process – are also part of the European Semester, given their impact on the business environment, investment, economic growth and jobs.

In addition, the Romanian Recovery and Resilience Plan, positively assessed by the Commission and adopted by Council in October 2021, includes concrete milestones touching upon issues covered by the CVM that are central to the reform process, such as judicial reform and anti-corruption frameworks.

Who decides when to lift the CVM?

The CVM can be lifted by a decision of the Commission. According to the Acts of Accession, which are the legal bases for the CVM decisions, the “Commission shall inform the Council in good time before revoking the safeguard measures [the CVM], and it shall duly take into account any observations of the Council in this respect”.

What are the next steps for Romania?

Romania committed to continue its work on ongoing reforms, such as on the Criminal Codes, and to ensure that all adopted reforms, including the recent justice laws, are implemented effectively and in accordance with EU law and European standards. This will ensure the sustainability and irreversibility of the reforms, allowing for the CVM to be successfully closed.

From now on, the Commission will no longer monitor or report on Romania under the CVM, but monitoring will continue within the annual rule of law cycle. Reporting will be consolidated in the Commission’s annual Rule of Law Report, as for all Member States.

Is the Commission still monitoring Bulgaria under the CVM?

A CVM was also established at the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union in 2007 to monitor progress in the fields of judicial reform, corruption and organised crime. The October 2019 CVM report concluded that Bulgaria had fulfilled the remaining CVM recommendations satisfactorily, that it has made sufficient progress in meeting its commitments made at the time of its accession to the EU and that all benchmarks can be satisfactorily closed.

Since then, the Commission no longer monitors or reports on Bulgaria under the CVM, but monitoring continues within the annual rule of law cycle, and more concretely, in the Commission’s annual Rule of Law Report.

Bulgaria has expressed its intention to take up the Commission’s offer of further contacts to follow-up on the Rule of Law Report and its accompanying recommendations. In addition, Bulgaria has also undertaken to complete important reforms under the Recovery and Resilience Plan.

The effective implementation of Bulgaria’s and Romania’s commitments and the continuation of the positive pace of reforms will ensure that progress made is sustainable and irreversible, allowing for the CVM to be successfully closed. Before reaching a final decision, the Commission will consider the observations of the Council, as well as of the European Parliament. The Commission will revert to this issue in the case of both Bulgaria and Romania in the coming months.

For More Information

CVM Report Romania : Press Release

Report on steps taken by Romania under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM)

Source – EU Commission

GDPR Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner