EU to end corruption monitoring scheme in Bulgaria, but not Romania

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The European Commission wants to end a corruption monitoring program for Bulgaria but won’t do the same for Romania because of backsliding on judicial reforms.

Both countries were placed under the scheme when they joined the EU in 2007 and Brussels now believes Bulgaria has made sufficient progress in the fight against corruption and organized crime to leave the program.

Romania, on the other hand, has regressed in the fight against corruption and the monitoring should continue, the Commission said Tuesday.

It will take into account the opinion of other member states and the European Parliament before formally proposing the end of corruption monitoring in Bulgaria, it said.

The so-called Cooperation and Verification Mechanism was imposed on the two Eastern European countries over concerns that they had significant problems with corruption (and, in Bulgaria’s case, organized crime) and that their judiciaries were not strong enough to ensure the rule of law.

They were the only EU members subject to such monitoring, leading to complaints from Romanian politicians of double standards.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he wanted the mechanism to end by the time he leaves office later this year, but for that to happen both countries needed to show progress in the anti-corruption fight and ensuring an independent, working judiciary.

In a reversal from three years ago, when Juncker said he expected Romania to be ready to leave the program but not Bulgaria, Sofia was the first to be given the good news.

Politco October 22nd, 2019

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