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Bulgaria and Romania - more work needed on corruption - 24/07/2008

Commission’s Berlaymont building with a placard welcoming Bulgaria and Romania to the EU

The two countries are told to put more effort into judicial reform and tackling corruption, in latest progress reports

When Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in 2007, both countries had weaknesses in their judicial systems and problems with corruption. Bulgaria was also struggling to control organised crime. Both were asked to address these issues; their progress has now been charted in two new reports.

The general conclusion is that both have made genuine efforts, particularly in judicial reform, and that progress has been made. But more work is needed.

In Romania, the basic elements of a modern judicial system are now in place, but structures are still fragile and high-level corruption cases often politicised. The report calls on the government to intensify reforms.

Bulgaria is warned that its fight against corruption and organised crime is not yielding sufficient results. Criminals often go unpunished, and their financial assets are rarely frozen. The financing of political parties is also largely unregulated. Irregularities in financial management have prompted the commission to suspend some EU funding over the last six months.

The report calls on Bulgaria to ‘translate words into deeds and deliver on its commitment to serious reform’.

The assessments are based on information from the two countries’ governments, the commission, other EU countries with a presence in Bulgaria or Romania and civil society bodies.

Both countries are set goals – e.g. Romania to introduce anti-corruption measures for local government, and Bulgaria to amend the constitution to remove doubts over the independence and accountability of the judicial system.

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