Romania has made further progress in attaining the objectives agreed with the European Union, but more efforts are required in combating corruption at all levels and ensuring the independence of the judiciary, the European Commission’s Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) report shows.
“Romania has made further progress towards the CVM benchmarks. At the same time, the fact that several recommendations of the 2015 CVM report remain valid shows that reform does not enjoy the full consensus necessary to assure sustainable progress. Judicial independence and respect for court decisions continue to face challenge. The Criminal Codes reform is put into question in Parliament. Decisions in Parliament on whether to allow the prosecution to treat parliamentarians like other citizens still lack objective criteria,” the EC report shows.
“There are improved steps to tackle general corruption, but not on the scale and with the political will required to address what is widely recognised as a systemic problem. Judicial reform and the fight against corruption remain important issues for Romanian society, able to inspire large-scale public demonstrations, and further support to the consolidation of reform is needed to ensure the irreversibility of progress,” the European Commission emphasises.
“2016 will be a test year in many respects. The extent to which integrity issues prevail in the appointments to the senior positions in the judiciary and the scrutiny of candidates for forthcoming elections will be key signs of the extent to which reform is taking root. The continuation of the trend of reform will also be a signal of sustainability. The Commission looks forward to continuing to work closely with Romania to secure the CVM’s objectives,” the report goes on to say.
CVM Reports for Bulgaria and Romania have been presented by the EC on January 27.
CVM was established upon Romania’s accession to the European Union in 2007. Since then, CVM reports have assessed Romania’s progress while trying to guide the efforts of Romanian authorities through specific recommendations about judiciary reforms and the fight against corruption.
President Iohannis: CVM Report confirms Romania’s progress for three years in a row
The European Commission report released on Wednesday under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) confirms for the third consecutive year Romania’s progress in judiciary reforms and fight against corruption, asserts President Klaus Iohannis.
“Romania is on an upward trend of meeting CVM objectives; our country’s commitment to the consolidation of the rule of law and of the judiciary independence is irreversible,” the Presidential Administration points out in a media release.
According to this document, the President noted a convergent approach on a European level when it comes to Romania’s significant progress in terms of fight against corruption. These evaluations are also included in the GRECO (Group of States against Corruption, the Council of Europe anti-corruption body) published by the Council of Europe on January 22.
“The report published today by the European Commission shows that the main institutions in the judiciary and integrity fields kept getting impressive results in the fight against high-level corruption. This confirms the sustainability of the efforts of Romanian authorities and their determination to carry out the necessary reforms for the Romanian society,” the release mentions.
The President of Romania is further determined in his support to the judiciary and anti-corruption approaches, and he voices his certainty that the progress registered will be consolidated in 2016, the Presidential Administration adds.
JusMin Pruna: EC report, overall good; there are premises for CVM no longer being necessary
Justice Minister Raluca Pruna on Wednesday said that the report on the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) is generally good and the European Commission shows that progress was made with the judiciary in 2015.
“The report as it is – a generally good report – keeps the trend of the last two reports. (…) The European Commission shows that progress has been made this year with the judiciary. (…) Overall, the judiciary system has continued to give proof of its professionalism,” Pruna told a news conference at the Victoria Governmental Palace.
She added, in respect to the CVM, that “there are quite clear premises for it no longer to be necessary in the near future.”
Government: CVM Report reconfirms unceasing, constant progresses recorded in Romania
The Report on the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) published on Wednesday by the European Commission reconfirms continuous and steady progresses recorded by Romania in all the assessed fields, the Government says in a release to Agerpres.
“This third consecutive positive annual report proves the sustainable character of the justice reform and of the fight against corruption, being an indicator of the extent to which the Romanian authorities have assumed and fulfilled the CVM objectives.
Therefore, we believe that the recognition of the progresses by the CVM Report could be stressed more clearly by introducing a finalization outlook for this monitoring by the European Commission,” the said source says.
n the Government’s opinion, the Report’s positive conclusions show that “there are premises of finalizing the CVM process by internalizing the objectives of the mechanism at the Romanian authorities’ level, for instance, in the structure of the National Anti-corruption Strategy.”
Moreover, the Government says that the reforms provided by the CVM, the fight against corruption included, should be continued “for the Romanian society in the first place.”
“The commitment of the Government to fulfil these objectives, to the benefit of the Romanian society and citizens, is strong and unequivocal,” the Government release adds.
DNA: CVM report says in 2015 Parliament refused about one third of immunity lifting requests
The latest report of the European Commission on progress in Romania under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, or the CVM report in short, says that in 2015 Parliament refused about one third of the requests from the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) for the lifting of immunity of members of Parliament, the DNA said Wednesday.
“The European Commission’s report mentions impressive outcomes in addressing high-level corruption that involved prominent politicians and high-ranking state officials while pointing to a consolidated public support reflected in an increased number of citizens’ complaints and public opinion polls. On the other hand, the report carries over from the previous edition the observation that it remains the case that Parliament’s response to DNA requests lacks objective criteria against which to give a clear and consistent motivation in each case,” DNA said in a press statement released on Wednesday.
The DNA added that the report mentions the DNA indicted over 1,250 defendants in the course of 2015, and this included the prime minister, former ministers, members of Parliament, mayors, presidents of county councils, judges, prosecutors and a wide variety of senior officials.
At the same time it is noted that the DNA also increased its interim asset freezing measures relating to these cases, to reach a figure of 452 million euros.
“Combatting corrupt practices in the judiciary have been a priority for the DNA and the judicial authorities. The number of cases brought to light has increased in recent years and there has been an increasing sense of the judiciary wanting to show that it has high standards of integrity,” the DNA said citing from the CVM report.
As far as local corruption was concerned, the DNA said the report mentions that a particular trend has been the identification of corruption at local level.
“Since 2013, the total numbers of local officials sent to trial for corruption amount to almost 100 mayors, over 20 county council presidents and dozens of other local officials. The report adds that the track record of the institutions involved in fighting high-level corruption remains strong, with regular indictments and conclusion of cases concerning senior politicians and civil servants. About case conclusion, the report mentions that even in cases with a high number of witnesses and complex evidence, the ICCJ judges – as the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) is the court to judge on the greatest share of the corruption cases – have underlined their efforts to ensure respect of procedural rights for all parties. Proceedings have also been kept relatively short: the majority of cases finalised were registered in 2014 and 2015,” said the DNA.
The DNA also quotes the European Commission as saying in its report that the successful prosecution and conviction of many prominent politicians in Romania for high level corruption is a sign that the underlying trend of judicial independence is positive, and that no one committing a crime is beyond the reach of justice.
“The DNA is mentioned as one of the key institutions as far as building up the credibility and professionalism of the judicial system through establishing a track record is concerned. At the same time, it says clearly the leadership of those institutions has played an important part in this, sometimes in the face of strong personal criticism. The report concludes that ‘maintaining the effort of the judicial institutions addressing high-level corruption remains the most important sign of consolidating the fight against corruption. Corruption laws must apply equally to all and be applied at all levels,'” reads the DNA statement.
ICCJ’s Stanciu: CVM report highlights ICCJ progress with jurisprudence consistency
The latest report on Romania’s progress under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) highlights the progress of the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) with unifying jurisprudence and keeping up the pace of solving high-level corruption cases, ICCJ Chairwoman Livia Stancoiu said Wednesday.
“High Court of Cassation and Justice has dully taken note of the report form the European Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on progress of Romania under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism published on January 27, 2016. The report objectively highlights the progress by the High Court of Cassation and Justice in terms of its duties related to the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, especially progress with developing consistency and providing a unitary interpretation: the preliminary ruling and the appeal in the interest of the law,” Stanciu is quoted as saying in a press statement released on Wednesday.
Stanciu also said the CVM report highlights the role and contribution of the two mechanisms provided for by the Code of Civil Procedure and the Code of Criminal Procedure for unification of jurisprudence at a national level, as well as that fact that they work well to secure consistency of jurisprudence.
The CVM report also mentions that the Criminal Section of the Supreme Court and the panels of five judges maintained their track record in terms of bringing corruption cases to conclusion, said Stanciu.
She added that the Supreme Court will continue its efforts to provide nationwide consistency of jurisprudence using the mechanisms provided for by the Code of Civil Procedure and the Code of Criminal Procedure in order to meet the benchmark incumbent of the High Court of Cassation and Justice under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism.
CSM: MCV report objectively reflects progress recorded by Romania
The Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) report objectively reflects the progress recorded by Romania in terms of the activities monitored under this mechanism, says the management of the Superior Council of Magistrates (CSM), according to a Wednesday’s release for Agerpres.
According to the same source, the report highlights the progress recorded by the CSM in terms of independence of the judiciary and judicial reform, mentioning in this regard both the approaches to modify the procedures for appointing the management of prosecutor’s offices, the promptness and timeliness of the measures taken to defend the independence of justice, as well as cooperation and the measures taken to implement the new codes, the measures implemented to the development strategy of the judicial system, training activities, competitions for posts, as well as notifying the justice minister about important legislative proposals.
The management of the CSM informs that the CVM report will be reviewed and discussed in the Council’s plenum, and the necessary measures in its area of competence will be adopted and published in order to continue and strengthen the actions monitored by the European Commission.