Mark Gray: Romania made progress in many areas

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Romania has made progress in many areas since the previous report within the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), European Commission Spokesman Mark Gray said in Brussels on Wednesday.

'The track record of the key judicial and integrity institutions has remained positive, even in the face of sometimes difficult circumstances. Necessary and long awaited legislative changes have remained on track, and a spirit of cooperation between judicial institutions and the Ministry of Justice is helping managerial issues to be tackled. In this sense the situation has benefited from the calmer political atmosphere of the recent past,' said Mark Gray, who presented the latest report on the progress Romania made within CVM.

The EC Spokesman added that 'However, concerns about judicial independence remain and there are many examples of resistance to integrity and anti-corruption measures.'

The rushed and untransparent amendment of the Criminal Code in December 2013 sparked widespread concern as a challenge to the regime for tackling corruption and promoting integrity, even if the Constitutional Court showed checks and balances at work in ruling this unconstitutional.

The important measure of key appointments shows a mixed picture, with some procedures running in an open, transparent and merit-based way whilst others are open to criticism on the grounds of political interference. Overall, the picture has consequences for the extent to which the reform process in Romania can be seen as sustainable and the positive developments deemed irreversible.

The EC Spokesman added that the overall picture showed there may be some positive and sustainable evolutions and that the idea was to stay on track.

The CVM report contains a number of specific recommendations for the future, one of them referring to the parliamentarians' statute, which must include some key-provisions so the Parliament members should respect justice independence.

Moreover, Romania should adopt legislative measures for the observance of the judiciary and to make sure there are not any exceptions in the law on conflict of interest and unjustified fortune.

The Commission invites Romania to pursue and consolidate progress on its recommendations on the reform of the judiciary, integrity and the fight against corruption. The next report will come in around one year's time. AGERPRES

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