EU Commission's Georgieva Defends Monitoring on Bulgaria, Romania
Bulgaria and Romania should not aspire to have the EU monitoring dropped, but should rather remove the reasons leading to its introduction, EU Commission Vice President Kristalina Georgieva has said.
In an interview with economic news website Investor.bg, she has noted Bulgaria's race on the road to reform is not with Romania, but with "itself", as failure to implement the reform needed is "dragging us down."
"Bulgaria, as well as Romania, have known for a long time what has to be done and how important reforms are - not for the text of the next report, not even for the date when monitoring will be over."
Her comments come as Bulgarian MEPs have called for the so-called Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), applied on Romania and Bulgaria's judicial system and anti-corruption efforts, to be revoked due to its insufficient effect on boosting democracy in the two countries.
Separately, Bulgarian politicians have been voicing their concern that Sofia increasingly lags behind Bucharest in the reform of its judiciary.
Back in the 2000s, the CVM was a prerequisite if Bulgaria and Romania wanted to join the EU. In March, the Commission made clear it would not be removed unless the two countries have fulfilled the respective criteria.
Georgieva has added Bulgaria urgently needs the introduction of e-governance to reduce the predominance of bureaucracy and red tape pulling off businesses and making corruption easier.
In her words, Sofia needs to explore options to receive funding under the "infrastructure" window of the so-called Juncker Plan, after having secured more than EUR 100 M for small and medium enterprises. The "infrastructure" window is now available to EU member states' projects in energy, transport, research, and ICT, Georgieva has added.
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