Corruption, both petty and political, remains a systemic problem in Romania, EC report reads

The extent of corruption costs the EU economy about EUR 120bn annually.

Corruption, both petty and political, remains a systemic problem in Romania. While some anti-corruption reforms have been pursued over the past years, their outcome proved to be unstable and easily reversible. Positive results were noted in the prosecution and more recently in the adjudication of high-level corruption cases, following efforts by specialised law enforcement bodies, prosecutors, and judges, the European Commission report issued on Monday reads.
EU Anti-Corruption Report published yesterday by the European Commission explains the situation in each Member State: what anti-corruption measures are in place, which ones are working well, what could be improved and how. The report shows that both the nature and level of corruption, and the effectiveness of measures taken to fight it, vary from one Member State to another. It also shows that corruption deserves greater attention in all Member States.
“Corruption undermines citizens’ confidence in democratic institutions and the rule of law, it hurts the European economy and deprives States from much-needed tax revenue. Member States have done a lot in recent years to fight corruption, but today’s Report shows that it is far from enough. The Report suggests what can be done, and I look forward to working with Member States to follow it up”, said Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs. The extent of corruption in Europe is “breathtaking” and it costs the EU economy about 120bn euros annually, the European Commission says.
The report on Romania further reads that the political will to address corruption and promote high standards of integrity has been inconsistent over time.
The Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) Report of January 2014 highlighted that, while progress was made in many areas of judiciary and anti-corruption policies, the readiness with which the foundation stones of reform could be challenged in Parliament served as a reminder that there is far from consensus about pursuing the objectives of the CVM.
Accountability and integrity of elected and appointed officials remain matters of concern. More determined efforts are needed to address corruption effectively within the judiciary and healthcare systems, and in connection with public procurement. The policy for preventing corruption remains underdeveloped and inefficient.
High-profile corruption cases show vulnerabilities in the supervision of party and electoral campaign financing, as well as in the prevention of electoral fraud, the report also says. Regarding the local media, objective reporting has deteriorated over the past years and journalism is ‘often overruled by the vested interests and political affiliations of the media outlets’ owners’, including at times intimidation of magistrates or anti-corruption actors. Limits on media freedom further reduced access to information countrywide, the EC report reads.
The following points require further attention, in the EC opinion:
- Ensuring that all necessary guarantees remain in place to safeguard the stability, independence and continuation of the track record of anti-corruption institutions and the judiciary regarding non-partisan investigations.
- Implementing comprehensive codes of conduct for elected officials and ensuring corresponding accountability tools and dissuasive sanctions for corrupt practices, conflicts of interest or incompatibilities.
- Developing uniform and effective prevention tools within contracting authorities and public procurement supervisory institutions, with particular focus on conflict of interest at local level. Ensuring systematic monitoring and transparency of the implementation of large-scale public contracts, including EU-funded projects.
The report quoted an opinion poll – the 2013 Special Eurobarometer on Corruption, which reveals that 93% of Romanian respondents agreed that corruption is a widespread problem in their country (EU average: 76%), while 42% say that they were personally affected by corruption in their daily lives (EU average: 26%). 82% consider that bribery and use of connections are often the easiest way to obtain certain public services (EU average: 73%).

1 Comment

  1. Stary rolnik says:

    Keep on talking, some things will never change

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