Bulgarian Justice Minister Hopes Events in Romania Will Not Affect European Commission's Assessment of Processes in Bulgaria
Brussels, February 22 (BTA correspondent Nickolay Jeliazkov) - Bulgarian Justice Minister Tsetska Tsacheva expressed hope here Thursday that the events in Romania will not affect the assessment by the European Commission (EC) of the processes in the Bulgarian judiciary. Tsacheva commented the matter to Bulgarian reporters covering her visit to the European Parliament to present the priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council to the EP Committee on Legal Affairs.
Ever since Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in 2007, the EC has had them under joint monitoring for how they combat organized crime and high-level corruption, and what progress they make in reforming their judicial systems.
Meeting with Romania's new Prime Minister Viorica Dancila on Wednesday, EC President Jean-Claude Juncker reconfirmed his position that the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, whereby the Commission monitors Bulgaria and Romania, should be lifted before the end of the term of this commission. He also remarked on the frequent change of Prime Ministers in Romania in recent years and noted that some local politicians seem to be trying to bypass the enforcement of the law.
Asked to comment the latest corruption perception index of Transparency International, where Bulgaria remains at the bottom of the EU even after some improvement, Tsacheva said that corruption and the fight against it are challenges for modern societies in general - not just for Bulgaria - and that it is a priority for her government. She mentioned as a proof the recent adoption of a law on combatting high-level corruption.
"Each politician and each citizen would be happy to see more visible results [in the counter-corruption efforts] so that Bulgaria can move up [in the corruption perception rating]. Much work remains to be done in this field," she said adding that a lot of practical steps have been made and these are now expected to produce results.