What is CVM?
When they joined the EU on 1 January 2007, Romania and Bulgaria still had progress to make in the fields of judicial reform, corruption and (for Bulgaria) organised crime. The Commission set up the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) as a transitional measure to assist the two countries to remedy these shortcomings.
Why is CVM needed?
The decision to continue assessing Bulgaria and Romania after their accession to the EU shows the EU's commitment to see the two countries develop the effective administrative and judicial systems needed to deliver on the obligations of EU membership and ensure correct application of EU laws, policies and programmes.
Progress on judicial reform, corruption and organised crime will also allow Bulgarians and Romanians to enjoy their full rights as EU citizens.
How does CVM work in practice?
In December 2006, the Commission adopted decisions which also set criteria ('benchmarks') for assessing progress.
The Commission's assessments and formal reports are based on careful analysis and monitoring, drawing on a continuous dialogue between the Bulgarian and Romanian authorities and the Commission services. The reports have also benefitted from contacts with other EU countries, civil society, international organisations, independent experts and a variety of other sources.
The Commission reports on progress on a regular basis. The Commission issued its first report on 27 June 2007. The reports contain the Commission's assessment and recommendations to the Bulgarian and Romanian authorities, and are complemented by a staff working document which sets out the Commission's detailed analysis against each of the benchmarks of the CVM.
Each Commission report, with its methodology and conclusions, is subsequently discussed and has always been endorsed in conclusions by the Council of Ministers.
Criteria for assessing progress
The benchmarks for Romania deal with the effectiveness and transparency of the judicial system, key institutions in areas like integrity and the fight against corruption at all levels, and corruption prevention.
The benchmarks for Bulgaria deal with issues such as the independence, professionalism and efficiency of the judicial system, the fight against corruption and action being taken against organised crime.
The support of the Commission via the CVM monitoring process is accompanied by:
- funding opportunities under the European Structural and Investment Funds
- expertise such as that provided through the Structural Reform Support Service
- the constructive support of many EU countries