Monday, February 21, 2011

Romania encouraged by 'positive' EU report: minister

18 February 2011
(BUCHAREST) - Romania said Friday it felt encouraged by the European Commission's "positive" report on its progress in judiciary reforms and the fight against corruption and pledged to step up efforts in this field.

"This is a positive report, maybe the best we have obtained since the monitoring system was established" in 2007, when the Balkan country joined the EU, Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu told a press conference.

"But we should not delude ourselves: all problems have not been solved yet," he added.

The Commission's report on Romania lamented that "important high-level corruption cases have seen little movement in court" since the prevoius assessment, in July 2010, while parliament "prevented investigations into allegations of corruption by a former minister".

But the EU executive praised Romania for giving a "constructive" response to recommendations made in the July report, which had criticised Bucharest for "significant shortcomings" and insufficient political will to reform.

Romania took "several important steps" to speed the handling of legal cases and prepared proposals to boost the recruitment and training of magistrates, the report said.

Predoiu welcomed the EU executive's conclusion regarding the authorities' "proven political will to go ahead with the reforms" and called on all political parties to join in this effort.

"It is important to maintain the positive trends and for this political support is crucial," he said.

"Romania's politicians must choose between European modernity and post-Communism past, between justice and injustice, between integrity and corruption," Predoiu stressed.

The Commission will issue its next reports on Romania and neighbouring Bulgaria in July.

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