Romania presents all conditions so that this year the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) be lifted, said, on Thursday, Justice Minister Florin Iordache.
“I have presented the objectives that Romania left off with in 2006 and showed that Romania fulfilled those obligations. I showed that Romania made important steps and consolidated important institutions that guarantee that at this moment the rule of law is very important in Romania. I showed that Romania, in partnership with the [European] Commission, has consolidated important institutions. And that, from our point of view, as long as these conditionalities have been fulfilled (…) given that all these objectives, that Romania had in their 10 years of activity, were fulfilled, at this time Romania presents all conditions so that this Mechanism be lifted this year,” said Florin Iordache at the end of the meeting had at the Ministry of Justice with a delegation of the European Commission led by the Deputy Secretary-General of the European Commission, Paraskevi Michou.
The Ministry of Justice added that the CVM was functional and showed the progress that Romania recorded year after year in the realm of justice.
“This Mechanism, which was functional and which showed, year after year, the progress Romania is making, proves that at this moment Romania presents sufficient guarantees that authorities in the judiciary in Romania are working in very good conditions. As long as we have a coherent legislation, as long as we have good, independent institutions, opinions for and against I can respect, but I cannot comment upon. (…) We need to say as a state that Romania fulfills at this moment all conditions and conditionalities for the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism to be lifted,” Iordache stated, when asked how he comments on the statements of Attorney General Augustin Lazar, according to whom the CVM should be kept for politicians.
The Justice Minister stated that the EC delegation will have meetings with representatives of the High Court of Cassation and Justice, the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice, the Superior Council of Magistracy, and with the Minister-Delegate for European Affairs and several MPs.
Asked if the maintaining of the CVM hinders Romania’s plans to join the Schengen Area, the Justice Minister said: “It’s a condition (…), but it hinders us in the sense that it was started for something, for certain conditionalities and if Romania fulfilled all its tasks that it had in view it’s abnormal for this Mechanism to continue and only in Romania.”
EC Deputy Secretary-General: CVM not to be lifted this year
The Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) will not be lifted this year, European Commission Deputy Secretary-General Paraskevi Michou said in Bucharest on Thursday.
“We are now going to present the report on 2016 and we agreed to cooperate for the next stage of next year, but it [the CVM lifting] won’t happen this year, the report is already prepared. The next steps depend on what I have said. I have come here to send the message that we want a close cooperation to come out from under the CVM, but this depends on the Government’s, Parliament’s work, on fulfilling all established criteria, for reforms to be sustainable and not reversible. I believe that we agree that we must work together to reach this goal,” Paraskevi Michou said after a meeting with Parliament representatives.
She pointed out she has come to meet the new Government and the new Parliament, as well as to convey that the CVM report will be most likely completed this month.
“I haven’t come for conclusions, I have come right now to see the new Government, the new Parliament, it is very recent. As you know, we are in the process of completing the CVM report and I have come to convey that the report will be concluded most likely this month. I have come here to say that we need to continue the progresses,” Paraskevi Michou added.
The European official underscored that the CVM completion depends on Romania’s Government and on Parliament.
“As you know, this year we’ll take a look at the past 10 years – at the good and bad things that happened, the progresses made, but we need the progresses to continue and I have said that we must work together. What the Commission and President Junker would want to see is for us to work for concluding the CVM, but this is up to Romania’s Government and Parliament in speeding up, in going to the right direction and not the reversible one, in always moving forward and not backwards,” the EC official added.
Asked if the CVM report is only positive, she mentioned there are also progresses, as well as backsteps.
“No. When I said progresses made over the past ten years I referred to the institutions we saw built, to the structures already incorporated in the system. We have also seen in these ten years backsteps, and this is what we want to avoid in the future. I cannot tell you now how the report will look like, because it is not completed, but when I look at the past ten years, in some areas there are very high progresses, in other areas there are progresses, in a few areas there could be backsteps, and we are trying to make available the instruments to go in the progress direction,” the European Commission Deputy-Secretary General underscored.
Judicial committees of the Deputies’ Chamber and Senate heads Eugen Nicolicea and Serban Nicolae, as well as Chamber Vice President Rovana Plumb participated in the meeting with Paraskevi Michou.
“Not even Minister should interfere in course of justice”
Justice Minister Florin Iordache, declared on Thursday that it would mean an interference in the course of justice if he expressed a point of view in the case of Sebastian Ghita’s statements, reminding that at the Prosecutor General’s Office there is a case open regarding the information made public by the former deputy.
“It would be an interference of the Justice Minister in the course of justice. There is a case at the present moment, there are competent organs that must solve it, and I believe not even the Justice Minister should interfere with the course of justice,” said Iordache, asked about the statements of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) leader, Liviu Dragnea, regarding his expectations from the Justice Minister after the media coverage of the “disclosures” made by former deputy Sebastian Ghita.
Liviu Dragnea declared on Wednesday, at private TV broadcaster Antena , that the Justice Minister should have a say in the case of Sebastian Ghita’s allegations in the recordings broadcasted by the media.
“Let us see what happens in the upcoming period. I believe the Justice Minister must express his opinion at some point. He must have an opinion, still. (…) One cannot go past these things, it cannot be disregarded as ‘miscellanea’. Is there a fault, isn’t there? What if there is too much acting, too much fiction. It must come out, otherwise all the actors involved will have a big problem. Confidence in both institutions is suffering and it is not alright. Have you heard Mr. President Klaus Werner Iohannis expressing a point of view on these topics?,” said the PSD leader.