Romania Has Lots to Do on Judicial Reform, EC Interim Report Says

January 30, 2013, Wednesday // 01:22

Romania has a long way to go on judicial reform in order to strengthen its judiciary and end corruption, the European Commission noted Wednesday in its interim report on Romania's post-EU accession progress under the so called Cooperation and Verification Mechanism.

The EC Report urges Romania's ministers who are accused to corruption to resign, and the Romanian parlamentarians to stop hindering corruption investigations.

The European Commission points out that while Romania has restored the authority of its Constitution and Constitutional Court rulings, it continues to face issues with observing the independence of the judiciary. The instability of the Romanian judicial institutions is mentioned as a matter of concern.

According to the CVM report, which explores Romania's judicial reform progress in the last six months, it is essential that a new trustworthy chief prosecutor be appointed to head its national authority for fighting corruption.

Even though on Tuesday the Romanian government assured Brussels and the Romanian citizens that it met its commitments in the field of justice in the past six months, the Commission stressed that a lot of work needs to be done before the goals that it set for Romania can be achieved.

"It has been a difficult year for the EC-Romania relations. The EC sees this report as a signal of encouragement that we should not any longer see the sort of political turmoil that we have seen over the last year," European Commission spokesperson Mark Gray said speaking at a press conference for the presentation of the EC's CVM report on Romania's progress in Brussels, as cited by Focus news agency.

"We have a new [Romanian] government in place. We have a new parliament in place. They both have a clear mandate. They both have committed, and particularly the government has committed to fight against corruption; about the respect for the rule of law; about the independence of the judiciary. So this is an opportunity, at this stage we set out in factual terms what has been done and what needs to be done," the spokesperson commented further.

"There is progress. We would have loved to have seen all ten benchmarks being dealt with, and without any of the sort of issue that we see in terms of independence of the judiciary. We have not yet seen that. We hope that this will happen quickly, and this is a report that the Romanian authorities can use as a clear guidance on what still needs to be done. We hope that in 2013 we will see a more stable political environment, and the delivery on those recommendations," Gray said.

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