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News 22 Jan 14

Romania's Judicial Reform Uneven, EC Report

New monitoring report from Brussels says Romania has made some progress in tackling justice-related problems - but progress has not been straightforward.

Marian Chiriac
Bucharest

A new report by the Cooperation and and Verification Mechanism, CVM, issued on Wednesday by the European Commission, said Romania had taken steps to improve the judiciary, but advances in some areas had been negated by setbacks elsewhere.

“Many people in the key judicial and integrity institutions have shown a real commitment to reform [but] the report also shows that progress is not straightforward and … I hope it will clearly highlight what still needs to be done to pursue and consolidate reform," Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso says.

Brussels raised continuing concerns about judicial independence, citing examples of resistance to integrity and anti-corruption measures.

“The rushed and untransparent amendment of the Criminal Code in December 2013 sparked widespread concern as a challenge to the regime of tackling corruption and promoting integrity, even if the Constitutional Court showed checks and balances at work in ruling this unconstitutional,” the Commission noted.

But all in all, the Commission sees the reform process as “sustainable and the positive developments deemed irreversible” and urged Romania to consolidate progress.

The CVM was established when Romania joined the EU in 2007 to help it establish an impartial, independent and effective judicial system.

Since then, the European Union and human rights groups have criticised Romania for continuing failures in its judicial system and lapses in the fight against corruption.

CVM reports have been used by some countries such as Germany, France or The Netherlands to oppose Romania’s entry into the passport-free Schengen zone.

The next report is due in around one year's time. The latest report is available on the following website: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/secretariat_general/cvm/index_en.htm

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