Strasbourg, 13 November 2018
Over the twelve months since November 2017, Romania has taken some steps to implement the recommendations set out in the January 2017 report. In line with the assessment set out in this report, the Commission considers recommendations 8 and 12 can be considered as fulfilled, and further progress has been made on recommendations 5 and 9. However, the assessment of the January 2017 report was always conditioned on the avoidance of negative steps calling into question the progress made in the past 10 years. The entry into force of the amended Justice laws, the pressure on judicial independence in general and on the National Anti-Corruption Directorate in particular, and other steps undermining the fight against corruption have reversed or called into question the irreversibility of progress, in particular under Benchmarks One and Three. As a result, the twelve recommendations set out in the January 2017 report are no longer sufficient to close the CVM in line with the objective set out by the President Juncker and to this end additional recommendations are set out in this report. This will require the key institutions of Romania to demonstrate a strong commitment to judicial independence and the fight against corruption as indispensable cornerstones, and to restore the capacity of national safeguards and checks and balances to act when there is a risk of a backwards step.
The Commission will continue to follow closely and will assess the situation before the end of this Commission's mandate. The immediate implementation of the additional measures is essential to put the reform process back on track and resume the path towards the conclusion of the CVM as set out in the January 2017 report.