The European Commission published on Wednesday its Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) report on Romania, EC First Vice President Frans Timmermans pointing out that Bucharest is on the right track. The report outlines the progress made by Romania, pointing out that the consensus on reforms has to be maintained.
“Romania is on the right track and it has to remain on it. Combating corruption continues to represent the biggest challenge and the top priority. We salute the progress made last year, which will have to be confirmed in 2015,” EC First Vice President Frans Timmermans, the official who manages the CVM reports on Romania and Bulgaria, stated, quoted by Mediafax.
“The 2014 CVM report noted progress in many areas, and highlighted the track record of the key anti-corruption institutions as an important step towards demonstrating sustainability. At
the same time, it noted that political attacks on the fundamentals of reform showed that there was no consensus to pursue the objectives of the CVM. This report returns to both trends to
assess the extent to which reform has taken root. The importance of the CVM has been borne out by opinion polling of Romanians themselves. A Eurobarometer taken in the autumn of 2014 showed a strong consensus in Romanian society that judicial reform and the fight against corruption were important problems for Romania. The results also showed a substantial increase in those who see an improvement in recent years, and some confidence that this will continue. There is clear support for an EU role in addressing these issues, and for EU action to continue until Romania had reached a standard comparable to other Member States,” shows the report released by the European Commission.
The document shows among others that the risk of political interference in senior appointments has been one of the major concerns with regard to judicial independence. CVM reports have underlined the importance of transparent and merit-based selection procedures. “In 2014, there were no appointments required of judges or prosecutors at the highest level. An important test case is coming now with the nomination of a new Chief Prosecutor for the Directorate for Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), following the resignation of the Chief Prosecutor in November, shows the report.
Regarding the Constitutional Court (CCR), the document shows that it has been instrumental in supporting the balance of powers and respect for fundamental rights in Romania, as well as resolving issues which the judicial
process had not resolved.” shows the document.
According to the report, the National Integrity Agency (ANI) has continued to process a strong flow of cases in 2014.A high percentage (70%) of ANI’s decisions on incompatibilities and conflicts of interests are challenged in court, but about 90% of these cases have been confirmed by the courts.
Fight against corruption
Regarding the DNA, the document shows that its activity in 2014 covered a wide range of high-level cases, in all strands of public offices and involving public figures in a variety of political parties. Indictments and ongoing investigations included serving and former Ministers, parliamentarians, mayors, judges and senior prosecutors. HCCJ cases included final instance convictions of a former Prime Minister, former Ministers, Members of Parliament, mayors and magistrates. There have also been other important cases, involving influential business figures, concluded at Court of Appeal level. However, it remains the case that the majority of sentences are suspended in corruption cases (although
this is less marked at the level of the HCCJ). “For most of 2014, DNA had little success in persuading Parliament to accede to requests from DNA for the lifting of immunity of Members of Parliament to allow for the opening of investigation and the application of preventive detention measures. This trend appears to have changed in late 2014, when the Parliament lifted the immunity of several parliamentarians investigated by DNA in a large corruption case,” the report also shows.
“The Commission’s 2014 CVM report was able to highlight a number of areas of progress,some of which showed a resilience which indicated signs of sustainability. This trend has continued over the past year,” highlights the report.
“The Commission welcomes the constructive cooperation it has had with the Romanian authorities over the past year. The consensus for reform, and the confidence that progress is taking root, are on an upward trend, which now needs to be maintained. “The Commission looks forward to continuing to work closely with Romania to secure the CVM’s objectives,” concludes the report.
President Iohannis hails the fact that the report is mostly positive
President Klaus Iohannis hailed the fact that the European Commission’s Report under the Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification (CVM) is mostly positive, while also stressing that its conclusions show the activity of the key judiciary and integrity institutions in fighting corruption saw a definite upward trend.
‘The Romanian President, Mr. Klaus Iohannis, hailed the fact that this Report is mostly positive, and that it also shows the progress identified by the European Commission in its previous report has been strengthened. The Romanian head of state remarked this was the second positive report for Romania, with our country’s progress made in meeting the CVM objectives having shown an obvious upward trend,’ said a release of the Presidential Administration .
Moreover, Iohannis believes that the conclusions of the report highlight the fact that almost the entire Romanian society is now committed to the achievement the major goals in terms of justice reform and fight against corruption, and also that some recent changes are indicating clear signs of sustainability.
‘The Romanian President hailed the conclusions of the Report that showed the activity of the key judicial and integrity institutions in fighting corruption recorded an impressive dynamics and generated an increased trust of the public in the justice field. Moreover, he appreciated the findings of the European Commission with regard to the increased professionalism of the Romanian judicial system and with respect to the strong will existing of protecting justice independence in a more consistent manner,’ showed the release.
On the other hand, the President Iohannis took note of the criticisms in the report, among which those referring to Parliament’s reluctance in implementing the final rulings of the Constitutional Court, the frequent use of emergencies ordinances, Parliament’s having rejected some requests to lift immunity for some MPs, without objective criteria existing, the lack of clear regulations meant to ensure the fast implementation of the constitutional provisions regarding the suspension of ministers under investigation or of the MPs having been subjected to negative integrity rulings or convictions in corruption cases, the exposure to corruption and conflict of interests of the public procurement procedures.
‘Mr. President Klaus Iohannis takes note of the recommendations of the European Commission meant to ensure the consolidation of the reform process and believes that there is need of a continuation of efforts, in order to secure the irreversible evolution of the reforms in the justice field and fight against corruption, first of all to the benefit of the Romanian society and the Romanian citizens,’ the Presidential Administration shows.
Justice Minister Cazanciuc: It is the best report so far
Minister of Justice, Robert Cazanciuc, on Wednesday said about the CVM Report, as published earlier in the same day, that it was “the best so far”, marking a series of “uncontestable progresses” in key areas such as the fight against corruption and the implementation of the new Codes.
The European Commission on Wednesday presented its analysis on the progress Romania made in the past twelve months in fighting corruption and shows where further steps are needed, under the CVM.
DNA: European Commission report reconfirms the quality of anticorruption prosecutors’ activity
The European Commission’s report reconfirms the quality of the National Anticorruption Directorate’s (DNA) activity, notices the diversity of corruption case investigations at all levels of public office and involving public persons from different political parties, and emphasizes the growth of public confidence materialized through an ever growing number of notices received from citizens, a DNA communiqué remitted on Wednesday to Agerpres informs.
The DNA emphasizes that the document points out that over 1,000 persons were arraigned in court, including 8 MPs, 2 prefects and 7 county council chairmen. Likewise, the document notes a rise in the number of corruption cases among magistrates, adding that this is a very corrosive form of corruption.
“Thus, 23 judges and 12 prosecutors, 6 of them holding executive offices, were deferred to court. The report insists that these figures do not reflect a growth in corruption among magistrates but the strengthening of the DNA’s capacity to identify such cases, as well as the citizens’ desire to get involved in reporting them,” the aforementioned source reads.