The European Commission (EC) believes Romania still fulfills the Schengen Area accession requirements, according to the EC’s spokesperson Mark Gray (in picture), who made the comment during his presentation of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism Report on Romania today (January 30 ).
Gray referred further questions to another EC spokesperson, who said it was not possible to give a date for a decision on Romania’s Schengen accession, adding that Romania was already “technically ready” to join. Romania should have been given a clear time frame, but this has not happened, according to the EC.
The linking of the CVM report to Schengen accession was questioned at the press conference, but the EC representatives stated clearly that Schengen accession is not dependent on CVM reports.
When responding to a question on The Netherlands’ demand for two positive CVM reports before Romania’s Schengen accession, the EC representative reiterated that inclusion in the border free zone was not made via the CVM, adding that the clear Schengen criteria should be applied to Romania, as has happened with all other countries so far. He said that linking Schengen area membership to the CVM reports takes Romania off the concrete road to accession and that the correct procedure should be followed.
The European Commission recently published the latest Cooperation and Verification Mechanism Report on Romania, which comes after a previious report in July 2012, when the country was in the middle of a political fight.
“While the respect for the Constitution and the decisions of the Constitutional Court has been restored, the lack of respect for the independence of the judiciary and the instability faced by judicial institutions remain a source of concern,” according to today’s report. It also stresses the importance of nominating the new Prosecutor General and head of the National Anti-corruption Directorate, ” who would enjoy public confidence and demonstrate the independence, integrity and professionalism needed to deliver effective results in fighting corruption.” The full report in English is here.
A further report will be issued by the end of this year. The Commission has carried out several missions to Romania, and the reports also take into account the responses by Romania to detailed questionnaires prepared by the Commission.
Liam Lever, firstname.lastname@example.org
photo source: ec.europa.eu