European Commission closes Cooperation and Verification Mechanism for Romania
The European Commission announced on September 15 that it formally closed the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) for Romania and Bulgaria.
The transitional measure was introduced at the accession of the two countries to the European Union in 2007 to facilitate progress in judicial reform and anti-corruption, as well as on organised crime for Bulgaria. As set out in the decisions of 2006, the CVM is brought to an end when all the benchmarks are satisfactorily met.
The Commission will continue cooperation with Romania and Bulgaria under the annual Rule of Law Cycle as for all Member States.
EC president Ursula von der Leyen said: "I would like to congratulate Bulgaria and Romania for the significant progress they made since their accession to the EU. The rule of law is one of our fundamental common values as a Union, and both Member States have delivered on important reforms in these past years. Today, we recognise these efforts by putting an end to the CVM. Work can now continue under the annual rule of law cycle as for all member states."
Reacting to the news, Romanian president Klaus Iohannis said it is "a great success" for the country, but the fight against corruption must continue.
"It took a long time, there was a lot of hard work, and in the end we succeeded. I think we can conclude that Romania has changed, it is a state of law, it is a state with a functional justice system," Iohannis said, quoted by Digi24.
"However, I must stress this is not the time to slow down the fight against corruption. It is time to accelerate the war on drugs and the fight against tax evasion," he added.
Under the CVM, the European Commission has regularly reported on progress on the relevant reforms in Bulgaria and Romania. The last CVM report on Romania was published in November 2022, when the European body concluded that the country made sufficient progress in meeting its commitments at the time of its accession to the EU and that all benchmarks could be satisfactorily closed. Romania still needed to continue working to implement specific commitments listed in the conclusions of the report, a work that was completed in June 2023.
The Commission informed both the Council and the European Parliament of its intention to formally close the CVM for Bulgaria and Romania on July 5, 2023, after all the specific commitments listed in the conclusions of the CVM reports had been implemented.
The Rule of Law Cycle was launched by the European Commission in 2019 and acts as a preventive tool, deepening dialogue and joint awareness of rule of law issues. It also enables the monitoring of the implementation of many of Bulgaria's and Romania's agreed reforms, the EC said. Their progress has also been monitored where relevant within the framework of the European Semester.
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