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Council of Europe’s GRECO anti-corruption organism requests Romania information regarding the amendments to laws of justice

GRECO, fourth evaluation round – ‘Compliance report Romania’ reveals limited progress

Romania has made extremely limited progress in implementing GRECO’s recommendations on preventing and combating corruption in regard to MPs, judges and prosecutors, a report released on Thursday by the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body reads.

GRECO points out that Romania has fully implemented only 2 of the 13 recommendations included in a 2016 evaluation. 7 recommendations have not been implemented at all, and four have been partially implemented, the Council of Europe said in a statement.

The report notes that the main initiative in Romania regarding MPs is to adopt a code of conduct in October 2017 to regulate gifts and other benefits and to manage conflicts of interest, ziare.com informs.

Despite this progress, GRECO points out that too general formulas of the Code of Conduct and inconsistent rules for its implementation prevent it from being fully satisfactory.

The legislative process remains a concern for GRECO, given persistent controversies and accusations of inappropriate consultation, excessive use of the urgency procedure and lack of transparency.

GRECO also considers that Romania has not yet paid much attention to improving the National Integrity Agency’s (ANI) activity in controlling the MPs’ wealth and interests statements, although the working methods and data processing capabilities have improved. GRECO calls for improved implementation of ANI decisions and sanctions on incompatibilities and conflicts of interest.

Regarding the reforms related to judges and prosecutors, GRECO notices the same limited decisive action. Measures to make the justice system more responsive to integrity risks are at an early stage, the report reads.

The Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) and the Judicial Inspectorate should play a more active role in analyzes, information and recommendations, GRECO points out. Steps are also needed to strengthen the role and efficiency of people in managerial positions with courts and prosecutors’ offices.

GRECO also regrets the absence of tangible actions to ensure that the appointment and dismissal of most top-level prosecutors is based on a transparent, objective process and highlights the need for the CSM to play a stronger role in this procedure.

The year 2017 was marked by a series of proposals and counter-proposals on appointments, disciplinary proceedings and other issues, some of which were perceived as an attempt to undermine the independence of the judiciary, the report reads.

The report was adopted on December 8, 2017 during a plenary session during which GRECO also decided to carry out an urgent assessment of three legislative proposals on justice, registered for adoption by Parliament on October 31, through the urgent procedure (the Laws of Justice), the Council of Europe’s release notes.

GRECO says it could not evaluate the draft legislation in its public report released on Thursday because it has been recently drafted. The ad hoc report on legislative proposals is currently under preparation and will be discussed and eventually adopted by GRECO by its plenary session on March19-23.

GRECO asked the Romanian authorities to submit a report on the implementation of the recommendations in progress by December 31, 2018.


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