New Report: EC Reports on Bulgaria's Progress, Considers Dropping Monitoring (REVIEW)
The European Commission will cease monitoring of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, but formally the decision will have to be consulted with the Council and the European Parliament. However, Bulgaria will still have to fulfill its commitments. The new commission will continue to monitor, but in another form, and it will apply to all members of the Union.
The co-operation and verification mechanism, which has affected Bulgaria and Romania, is about to go down in history. Instead, the EC will create a new instrument to monitor the rule of law, not only in our countries, but in all EU Member States.
The European Commission is of the opinion that Bulgaria's progress is sufficient and recommends that the monitoring be dropped. The ongoing implementation of the commitments will be monitored by a council to be set up in Sofia.
This Council will continue to carry out the dialogue with the European Commission within the framework of the future EU Rule of Law Mechanism in all Member States. Reforms related to the fight against corruption will have to continue.
Brussels expects specific procedures for the accountability of the Attorney General, as well as legislation to repeal provisions in the Judiciary Act, which require automatic suspension of magistrates in the event of criminal investigations against them and declarations of membership in professional associations.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called Bulgaria's progress impressive and explained that the final decision to suspend monitoring would be taken after consultation with the Council and Parliament.
EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos also commented that Bulgaria has consistently done its job.
Dimitris Avramopoulos-European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship: The Commission considers Bulgaria's progress under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism to be sufficient to cover Bulgaria's commitments to EU accession. Bulgaria must continue to work consistently to translate the commitments reflected in this report into specific legislation and work to implement it.
The final decision on the elimination of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism for Bulgaria has not yet been taken. When will this happen and will it be decided by this committee or by the next one?
Dimitris Avramopoulos European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship: You're trying to trap me. How long this committee will work is your question. But there is continuity in the European institutions. What has been decided and announced today will be continued in the next committee. I am not here to predict political moves in the future. But at least within a month, we will continue on this path.
Bulgarian MEPs from various political parties expressed their satisfaction with the disappearance of the surveillance, even more so if this opened the way to Schengen. However, there were concerns about how effective the new pan-European mechanism would be.
Andrey Kovachev, MEP from GERB / EPP - Of course, we should be satisfied that after 12 years, after fulfilling all the recommendations in these annual reports of the European Commission to Bulgaria, this report is the last one to say that Bulgaria is has really implemented all the recommendations and there will be no more reports.
Sergei Stanishev, MEP BSP / GPA - Often, the judicial control and cooperation mechanism has been used by some countries as a tool to discriminate against Bulgaria on certain issues, notably Schengen. You know that I have been fighting for years for this injustice that is being done to Bulgaria and now there will be less arguments.
Ilhan Kyuchyuk, MEP / ALDE MEP - The most important thing is that the monitoring report itself is missing. We, as a political force in the European elections and before, have repeatedly stated in our election platform that the report contains many restrictive commitments regarding human rights and the rule of law.
Radan Kanev, MEP - The good news does not depend on the commission, it depends on whether the necessary reforms have actually been implemented in Bulgaria.
The Cooperation and Verification Mechanism was established in 2007 as a transitional measure to facilitate Bulgaria's efforts to reform its judicial system and to strengthen the fight against corruption and organized crime.
Unlike Bulgaria, the report on Romania was highly critical. Brussels notes that there is no progress. With regard to our northern neighbour, there is no recommendation to terminate the report.
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