EU says Romania needs to ‘do more’ on judicial reforms

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After a difficult year for relations between Brussels and Bucharest, the European Commission said on Wednesday that Romania needs to ‘do more’ to respect the rule of law.
Earlier last July, Commission’s president Jose Manuel Barroso handed Romanian prime Minister Victor Ponta a ‘to-do’ list aimed at reforming the judicial system and to fight against corruption. Barroso even said that Romania had shaken “EU’s trust”.

‘The report makes clear that while some progress has been made over the last six months. Romania needs to do more to deliver on respect for the rule of law and judicial independence as it is implemented several but not all of the cooperation verification mechanism recommendations. While the respect for the constitution and the decision of the constitutional court have been restored, the independence of the judiciary and the instability faced by judicial institutions remain a major source of concerns. The Commission has received numerous reports of intimidation, all harassment of individuals in co-institutions’, EC’s spokesperson Mark Gray said.

The Commission still has concerns over the lack of independence of the judicial institutions. Brussels also wants Bucharest to apply tougher and clearer procedures in ousting politicians under investigation for corruption.

After the December elections, 20 MPs with ongoing corruptions cases were elected.

‘The Commission stresses the importance of nominating a new prosecutor general and the Head of National Anti-corruption Director who enjoy public confidence and demonstrate the independence integrity needed to deliver effective results in fighting corruption. (…) The Commission’s recommendations also underline the responsibility of Ministers and Parliamentarians to set up an example in terms of respect for integrity’, EC’s spokesperson Mark Gray said.

In an attempt to oust his long-term rival, Ponta’s leftist government called a referendum last summer to impeach center-right president Traian Basescu. The referendum was declared void by Romania’s Constitutional Court.?

Basescu was accused of blocking government policy and exceeding his authority.?

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