The progress made by Romania and Bulgaria on the reform of their judicial systems and the fight against corruption as well as the files currently being negotiated at the European Union Council were the topics discussed by Romanian Justice Minister Robert Cazanciuc and visiting Bulgarian counterpart Hristo Ivanov on Friday.
According to a Justice Ministry release cited by Agerpres, the two officials underscored the importance of the close cooperation between the two neighbours with a view to strengthening the positive developments recorded as part of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism and the efforts to attain the goal of integration into the Schengen Area.
Cazanciuc and Ivanov also approached the issue of the improvement of the conditions in the penitentiaries, as the two countries plan to ask for the European Commission’s financial assistance to this sector.
Ivanov, who is paying an official visit to Bucharest, is also scheduled to meet the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) President Livia Stanciu, Prosecutor General Tiberiu Nitu, the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi and the National Integrity Agency (ANI) head Horia Georgescu.
The visit of Mr. Ivanov takes place one week after Bulgaria’s Deputy PM paid a visit to Bucharest for an exchange of views with Romanian authorities on anti-corruption policies and on ways to boost the bilateral cooperation in fields of joint interest. Following her talks in Bucharest, Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Kuneva said that the country should follow Romania’s example by establishing specialized investigation and prosecution bodies with similar powers if it wants to prevent and fight corruption successfully.
Earlier this month, Ivanov cited by Novinite news agency, said Bulgaria should set up a new body tasked with investigating high-level corruption as part of his broad plan for judicial reform.
“Over the past few years Romania has marked substantial progress in justice and rule of law by bolstering its judiciary, with a number of prominent politicians and influential businessmen already sentenced and behind bars on corruption charges.This has lately prompted Bulgaria’s government, which took over in November, to warn that the two countries could be decoupled as CVM subjects since Romania has been outpacing Bulgaria in its successes,” writes Novinite.