EU Dashes Bulgaria, Romania's Hopes for Lifting Monitoring in 2012Bulgaria in EU | September 12, 2011, Monday // 16:20| views
EU Foreign Ministers prior to a European General affairs council in Brussels, Belgium. Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov visible on the right. Photo by BGNES
The cooperation and verification mechanism (CVM), established to asses Bulgaria and Romania's progress in the in the area of justice and internal affairs, remains an appropriate tool to help the two achieve concrete and lasting results and must remain in force until the EU's newest members accomplish the desired results, the Council of the European Union's press office said Monday.
According to the official statement, the ministers welcome the decision of the European Commission to present in summer 2012 an overall assessment of the progress made by the two Balkan countries within the CVM framework since January 01, 2007.
The announcement, however, does not explicitly state that it will be the last CVM report, saying that EC's proposals will be given careful consideration.
During the presentation of the CVM reports on Bulgaria and Romania in July 20th, EC Spokesperson Mark Gray said that the future implementation of the tool would depend on the progress shown by the two countries in the summer of 2012.
Analysts assumed that the statement meant that the 2012 CVM reports would be the last.
The latest statement of the Council, however makes it clear that the mechanism will stay in place until Sofia and Bucharest achieve the EC targets.
According to the document, "the legal framework needed for the reform is now largely in place in the two Member States concerned, and the emphasis has shifted from the preparation and adoption of laws to their implementation".
The two meber states, however, are encouraged to "complete the necessary legal framework and, as a matter of urgency, to take appropriate measures to implement the reforms in order to meet the commitments under the Mechanism."
Regarding Bulgaria, the Council praises the improvement of the rules for appointments, training and appraisals within the judiciary, the strengthened legislation on conflict of interest and the decision to establish a specialised court for organised crime cases and starting the reform of police investigations.
The statement goes on to say that Bulgaria needs to make further progress in the fight against high-level corruption and organised crime.
The Council also encourages Bulgaria to "effectively improve accountability and professional practice within the judiciary and the investigative authorities. Sustained commitment is needed to continue the reforms, notably by adopting a new law on asset forfeiture. Bulgaria should also ensure full implementation of the law on conflict of interest and improve administrative capacity in the field of public procurement".
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