Romania escapes justice clause, but remains under EC monitoringPublish date: 23-07-2009
The Justice report to be presented Wednesday by the European Commission does not recommend the activation of the safeguard clause, which could be applied only until the end of the year, but monitoring will continue until the justice system functions properly and the political class will support the anti-corruption fight.
In the third year after accession, Romania and Bulgaria have made too little progress in the judicial system reform and in the fight against corruption and organised crime to determine the European Commission to recommend the conclusion of the monitoring under the so-called mechanism for cooperation and verification (MCV) - this is the main conclusion of the reports that were presented Wednesday by the European executive. According to the draft report, the EC stresses that "there is no direct link" between the duration of the mechanism and the activation of the safeguard clauses, limited to three years from the date of accession, namely until December 2009. The safeguard clause would have meant blockage of the automatic recognition in the European area of the Romanian or Bulgarian court sentences and decisions.
"In the public debate related to the MCV there often appears a confusion between the probable duration of the mechanism and the deadline for implementation of the safeguard clauses contained in the Accession Treaty", reads the draft report. "The MCV has now entered its third year of existence. It was not introduced for a fixed period of time and can be removed only when all the benchmarks are met satisfactorily," the European Commission stresses.
The report will be discussed Friday in the working group within the EU Council of Ministers, in preparing the meeting of the foreign ministers in September or October.
The Romanian diplomacy is trying to convince the Member States about the need for an "strategy of exit " from the mechanism, but an important group of countries - Germany, Netherlands, Great Britain, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Austria - are skeptical that Bucharest will continue the reforms once the cooperation and verification mechanism has been removed.
In the draft report, the EC experts admit that these are long term objectives, such as combating corruption causes, and that change "can come only from among the Romanian society. " In this context, the report reads, the mechanism for cooperation and verification is just an "instrument of aid," and cannot replace the commitment of the Romanian society and political class to" align the legal system and practice to EU standards.
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