EU Commission Dashes Hopes for End to Monitoring on Bulgaria, Romania
The European Commission does not see "sustainability" in the progress of Bulgaria and Romania "in a number of areas", an official said on Wednesday.
Commission Deputy Secretary General Paraskevi Michou noted at a conference of MEPs in Brussels that, while she understood "disappointment" by the monitoring conducted on the two member states, she would "never agree" that the mechanism is ineffective and has no impact, Dnevnik.bg quotes her as saying.
The event, organized by Bulgarian MEPs, was centered around the possibility to either remove or overhaul the so-called Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) in force for Bulgaria and Romania, a proposal put forward by politicians from several member states.
The CVM was introduced as a prerequisite to the two countries' entry in the EU in 2007 and is focused on their progress in judicial reform, fighting corruption and combating organized crime.
Having been applied for nearly ten years, it is considered an important tool for EU leverage and positive impact on Bulgaria and Romania by some politicians in the respective countries, while others question its contribution to progress.
The latest reports, published in January, criticized Bulgaria for insufficient reforms in the judiciary and anti-corruption efforts, while the document on Romania commended a lot of the steps it had made.
However, despite concerns in Bulgaria that it is lagging behind Romania, EU member states agreed earlier this week that the Commission should not remove the CVM from either country.
"I will fight with you so that the indicators are fulfilled in a sustainable way, this has to be the end," Michou added, also fending off suggestions the mechanism in place was "unfair".
Among MEPs attending the conference, Romania's Monica Macovei was the sole voice supporting the CVM, while representatives of both Bulgaria and other states called its efficiency into question.
Separately, Bulgaria's Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov, who was also at the event, extended an invitation to Michou to visit Bulgaria in the near future.
Michou is responsible for institutional and administrative policies at the Commission and is also the executive body's Acting Director-General for Justice and Consumers.
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