Press conference by José Manuel Barroso on the reports on Romania and Bulgaria under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism
José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, gave a press conference on the reports on Romania and Bulgaria under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM). A report of the EC on progress in judicial reform and the fight against corruption in Romania had been presented. It summarised the Commission's serious concerns in relation to challenges to the rule of law by the Romanian Government and Parliament. This report included a number of urgent recommendations which had already been the subject of commitments made on 12/07/2012 by Victor Ponta, Romanian Prime Minister, to José Manuel Barroso. In its assessment, the report concluded that progress had been made since 2007. However, the objectives of the CVM were not met and the benchmarks had not been satisfactorily fulfilled. Reform was not yet sustainable and irreversible. Taking a five-year perspective, the report on Bulgaria showed progress, but also that reform was not yet sustainable and irreversible. Progress had been achieved with the adoption of the basic legislative framework and the creation of important new institutions. In this context, Bulgaria set-up an independent judicial inspectorate and created specialised structures at the level of police and the prosecution to pursue organised crime. Asset forfeiture legislation had been improved and a body to follow-up on conflicts of interest had been created. The report recommended that Bulgaria focus on filling the remaining gaps in this legal and institutional framework and concentrate on implementing recently adopted legislation. Weaknesses existed in particular in judicial integrity, regarding a consistent disciplinary practice concerning transparent and objective judicial appointments, appraisals and promotions.