The first vice-president of the European Commission Frans Timmermans started his official visit in Romania on Thursday.
Frans Timmermans stated that the CVM lift depends on Romania’s carrying out the European Commission’s recommendations and that the Romanian people will closely monitor the anti-corruption fight.
The EC official revealed that he had a shock some months ago (editor note: the Government’s attempt to decriminalize corruption which prompted wide street protests) and that he had thought what had been won in time would be lost. Timmermans also argued that Romania has been successful in putting the anti-corruption fight on the map in the past years. It’s homestretch of a marathon, Timmermans stated, while adding that the Romanian people will closely look at this process.
The EC first vice-president pointed out that the CVM lift is up to achieving the EC recommendations, while underlining that the Commission will not give them up. “These 12 recommendations can be accomplished. I am convinced that the Romanians are the best guarantees against corruption. There is a deep feeling in the Romanian society that this is the path to follow. I have been coming in Romania for more than 20 years. Until now the population was cynic: It won’t happen, ever. Now the feeling is different. This is the best guarantee,” Timmermans said.
In his turn, PM Sorin Grindeanu has stated after meeting Timmermans that his goal is to conclude the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) before Romania takes over the presidency of the EU Council.
“My goal and the Government’s goal is to conclude the CVM before Romania takes over the European Council Presidency. It’s a matter of prestige and not only, that I am very fond of,” the Romanian premier stated at Victoria Palace in a joint press conference with Frans Timmermans, and with the Justice minister, Tudorel Toader.
Grindeanu reminded that Romania has four consecutive positive CVM reports.
“I would like us to have a final positive report at the end of 2017, to lay the bases of concluding this mechanism (….) I underline the major progress carried out so far in the judiciary field and we shall not take any steps backward on guaranteeing a correct and independent act of justice,” PM Grideanu pointed out.
“Romania’s economy cannot increase without the investors’s confidence that their money are protected by a predictable and efficient judiciary system (…) Society cannot advance without the protection of interests and of the citizens’ fundamental rights,” the premier added.
Grindeanu also presented Timmermans the Government’s priorities in the upcoming period.
“The priorities are complying the legislation with the Constitutional Court’s decisions, observing the respect for the fundamental rights, guaranteeing the efficiency, predictability and the quality of the act of justice, as well as bringing justice closer to the citizen,” the PM said.
Senate Speaker Tariceanu: CVM most probably lifted in 2018
Timmermans had a first encounter with the Romanian Senate Speaker, Calin Popescu Tariceanu, with the talk approaching the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism issue.
Tariceanu admonished Frans Timmermans on some errors in the last CVM report, while also saying that the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism will be most likely lifted next year.
“I discussed this issue (CVM waiver) with European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, who once more pledged to make all efforts that the mechanism should be concluded during his term as EC President. Most likely, based on the CVM report, 2018 will probably be the year when the mechanism is lifted,” Tariceanu said after the meeting with the European Commission First Vice-President at the Romanian Parliament.
Tariceanu also said that he drew Frans Timmermans’ attention on some errors in the CVM report.
“I have drawn Mr Timmermans’ attention, in a friendly manner (…), on come errors that come up in the monitoring report setup under the CVM, such as, for instance, the request that Parliament should motivate its decisions. There is no Parliament in any country in the world motivating its decisions. One cannot ask the Senate or Chamber members to motivate their vote. Only courts motivate their decisions. Mr Timmermans asked me to send him the observations on this report, which I will do, to draw his attention on the errors in the report,” the Senate Speaker pointed out.
In his turn, EC First Vice-President Frans Timmermans encouraged the Romanian Parliament to support the Government’s efforts for reaching the objectives under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) in the justice area. “To be successful in the CVM process, I encourage the Romanian Parliament to support the Government in the final stretch of the marathon,” Timmermans wrote in his Twitter account.