The president and first vice president of the European Commission expressed concern [press release] Wednesday about Romania’s progress promoting the rule of law. The comments represent the Commission’s reaction to the most recent report [text, PDF] of the Co-Operation and Verification Mechanism for Romania.
When Romania joined the EU in 2007, along with Bulgaria, the European Commission created the Co-Operation and Verification Mechanism to assist the new member states with progress in judicial reform and corruption. Reforms in these areas are needed in order to implement EU directives and guarantee the rights of EU citizens. The CVM issues regular reports [official website] on benchmarks towards achieving these goals.
The CVM report issued in January 2017 lauded 10 years of progress and listed remaining areas of concern. Shortly thereafter, however, the Romanian government took action [JURIST report] to relax punishments for corruption convictions and sparking massive protests. This represents a backslide of progress the December 2017 CVM warns against.
Another area of concern is the independence of the judiciary, an issue the Commission actively polices [JURIST report] throughout the Union.