European Commission continues to monitor governance in Bulgaria and Romania

For 10 years the European Commission has monitored governance in Bulgaria and Romania under the so-called Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM). Yesterday it issued new reports stating that the CVM benchmarks had not yet been satisfactorily met by the two countries.

The CVM was set up when Bulgaria and Romania joined EU in 2007 without being completely prepared for membership. If the hopes back then was that the CVM would only last for a few years and push the new member states to comply with all commitments, this has not been fulfilled.

Time has not yet arrived to end the CVM, said First Vice-President Frans Timmermans yesterday (15 November).

As regards Bulgaria, the Commission issued 17 recommendations in the previous CVM report in January 2017 in the areas of judicial reform, the fight against corruption and organised crime.

“We have seen progress in many areas but there is still more work needed. Bulgaria has met or made progress on several of our recommendations, but not yet all,” Timmermans said on Wednesday (15 November).

For Romania the Commission issued 12 recommendations in the areas of judicial reform and the fight against corruption. The verdict is similar. “We have seen progress in some areas but there is still more work to be done. Romania has met some of our recommendations, but there is not enough progress yet on others.”

Asked by The Brussels Times which of the two countries is closest to fulfilling the CVM benchmarks, a Commission spokesperson replied: “We assess both countries individually and on the facts and merits, and we don’t conduct a comparison exercise.”

The Commission also declined to specify the most important recommendations in the reports: “We would not say that there are some recommendations which are more important than others; all benchmarks must be fulfilled for the countries to exit the CVM.”

The Commission says that it will assess progress towards the CVM benchmarks again towards the end of 2018.

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