Bulgaria's Justice Minister Visits Romania to Discuss Anti-Graft Policies
Bulgaria’s Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov will discuss anti-corruption policies with his Romanian counterpart Robert-Marius Cazanciuc and other key officials tasked with fighting graft on Friday.
Bulgaria and Romania, which joined the EU in 2007, are still being monitored through the EU’s so-called Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) meant to bring their justice and home affairs systems in line with the bloc’s standards and help them fight corruption.
The European Commission is expected to publish its latest CVM report later this month.
Radan Kanev, co-leader of the Reformist Bloc that is part of Bulgaria’s minority coalition government, said earlier this month the report is expected to give a rather negative assessment of Bulgaria’s justice reform progress, particularly with regard to fighting high-level corruption.
According to Kanev, Romania’s judiciary has marked a "huge" success in fighting corruption, while Bulgaria is either lacking consistent anti-corruption policies or is displaying the reverse trend.
During his working visit to Bucharest Ivanov will discuss the anti-graft measures Romania is taking with the Chief Prosecutor of the National Anti-corruption Directorate Laura Kovesi and the President of the National Integrity Agency Horia Georgescu.
Hristov will also meet with Romania’s Prosecutor General Tiberiu Nitu and the President of the High Court of Cassation and Justice Livia Stanciu , the Justice Ministry in Sofia said in a statement.
Earlier this month, Ivanov said Bulgaria should set up a new body tasked with investigating high-level corruption as part of his broad plan for judicial reform.
Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Kuneva has also said that the country should follow Romania's example by establishing specialized investigation and prosecution bodies with similar powers if it wants to prevent and fight corruption successfully.
Over the past few years Romania has marked substantial progress in justice and rule of law by bolstering its judiciary, with a number of prominent politicians already sentenced and behind bars on corruption charges.
Romania’s progress has prompted Bulgaria's coalition government, which took office in November, to warn that the two countries could be decoupled as CVM subjects since Romania has been outpacing Bulgaria in reforming its judiciary to EU standards.
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