EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hinted about decoupling Bulgaria and Romania under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) that has been in place since the EU accession of the two countries in 2007, Capital Daily reported. The EU’s monitoring focuses on judiciary reform and the fight against corruption and organised crime.
After meeting Romanian prime minister Dacian Ciolos, Juncker said that if the country continues to progress faster than Bulgaria, its monitoring will be discontinued. According to the EU official, this will likely happen during the current EC term, which expires in 2019. The EC president added that there is no close "intimate relation" between the frameworks of Bulgaria and Romania.
Meanwhile, former justice minister Hristo Ivanov commented that the EC has hinted about the conclusions to be adopted by the European Council within two months, which are expected to provide a perspective for ending the monitoring of Romania after one or two more reports.
On January 27, the EC called on Bulgaria to make more progress in reforming the judiciary and tackling corruption in its annual report on the country’s progress under the CVM.
EC first vice-president Frans Timmermans commented that Bulgaria had taken “some important steps to put reform back onto the agenda” in 2015. However, Timmermans criticised the lack of implementation of the government’s plans. “Now it is time to move to the next stage by turning the strategies on judicial reform and the fight against corruption into action on the ground and delivering concrete results,” he said.
The EC also pointed out that many of the recommendations in last year’s CVM report still require action, which it said highlighted “a lack of determination in the efforts of the Bulgarian institutions in key areas of judicial governance.”
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