Latest developments in Romania: President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans express concerns

resident Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans have today issued a public statement on the latest developments in Romania regarding the independence of Romania’s judicial system and its capacity to fight corruption. The Commission statement notes, “The independence of Romania’s judicial system and its capacity to fight corruption effectively are essential cornerstones of a strong Romania in the European Union. The irreversibility of the progress achieved so far under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism is an essential condition to phase out the Mechanism…the Government and the Parliament should ensure full transparency and take proper account of consultations in the legislative process on the justice laws… a process in which the judicial independence and the opinion of the judiciary is valued and given due account, also drawing on the opinion of the Venice Commission, is a prerequisite for sustainability of the reforms and an important element in fulfilling the CVM benchmarks…The Commission calls on the Romanian Parliament to rethink the course of action proposed, to open up the debate in line with the Commission’s recommendations and to build a broad consensus on the way forward. The Commission reiterates its readiness to cooperate with and support the Romanian authorities in this process…The Commission warns again against backtracking and will look thoroughly at the final amendments to the justice law, the criminal codes and laws on conflict of interest and corruption to determine the impact on efforts to safeguard the independence of the judiciary and combat corruption.” The full statement is available online in English and Romanian.