Worth Having It. The Effectiveness of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism on Romania
The Romanian Center for European Policies (CRPE) and the Romanian Academic Society (SAR) have launched the report “Worth Having It – The Effectiveness of the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism on Romania” during a public hearing at the European Parliament organized by the two MEPs Monica Macovei and Maria Nedelcheva (Bulgaria).
The hearing debated the effects that the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) had upon the justice systems in Bulgaria and Romania as well as the degree in which this mechanism could be a model for an EU-wide anti-corruption policy. The report launched in Brussels included the conclusions of a research project on the effectiveness of the CVM which was implemented by CRPE and SAR in 2009-2010. On this occasion, CRPE and SAR had the opportunity to present the results of their evaluation to decision-makers from the European Commission, EU Council and European Parliament.
The report can be downloaded from here.
“The Mechanism reflects our commitments inside the European Union, towards the other Member States and more importantly towards the Romanian citizens. Moreover, it is a political instrument for those who want to continue reforms in their home country”, Monica Macovei said in the conference opening.
The hearing was also attended by representatives of the European Commission and several General Directorates involved in the post-accession monitoring. Cristina Russo, Head of the unit responsible for the CVM within the European Commission praised the debate and the effectiveness of the Mechanism. “The European Commission is satisfied by the way this mechanism worksand does not plan to review it. The mechanism will be stopped when the benchmarks are fulfilled, and this is not the case at the moment”.
“The assessment made by CRPE on EU anti-corruption conditionalities has shown that the CVM blocked the attempts to dissolve those institutions and laws that Romania adopted before accession”, CRPE Director Cristian Ghinea stated. Ghinea also presented the results of a survey conducted among Romanian journalists and anti-corruption experts in regard to the impact of the CVM. Contrary to the opinions expressed by most politicians, the representatives of the press and civil society believe that the CVM should continue, 65% of them support tits continuation “but with harsher sanctions” while 20% believe that the Mechanism should be extended to other EU countries which face similar problems. More details can be found in the presentation made by Cristian Ghinea during the hearing in the European Parliament: here.
Laura Stefan, SAR anti-corruption coordinator, presented 3 study-cases in which the Mechanism had a decisive role. “The Mechanism contributed to the elimination of the amendments to the Criminal Procedural Code, blocked the dissolution of ANI and led to the elimination of the suspensive effect of the exceptions of unconstitutionality that slowed down high corruption cases. The mechanism counteracted the limited enthusiasm for reform experienced by many politicians after EU accession and kept all these issues on the public agenda”, Laura Stefan argued. More details are available in Laura Stefan’s presentation: here.
Photo from right to left: Maria Nedelcheva (MEP, Bulgaria), Monica Macovei (MEP, Romania), Laura Stefan (Anti-corruption coordinator, SAR), Cristian Ghinea (Director, CRPE).
Monica Macovei supported the idea: “Without this Mechanism we would not have today DNA, ANI, wealth and interest statements. The Mechanism supports reformative forces and must continue until the benchmarks are fulfilled”.
Antoinette Primatarova, member of the Bulgarian think-tank Centre for Liberal Strategies, also attended the hearing and made a similar CVM assessment for Bulgaria. Primatarova argued that the Mechanism enjoys the support of the Bulgarian government and NGOs. You can find more details in her presentation:here.
The report “Worth Having It – The Effectiveness of the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism on Romania” is part of the project “The Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification in Justice. Recommendations for the Post-2009 Period” financed by the European Union within the Transition Facility Programme 2007/19343.01.11.