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  Nr. 3863 de vineri, 23 februarie 2007 
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Exams for Romanian Justice to pass
-- The European Commission's Decision 6569, reached in December 13, 2006, warns Romania about a risk such as the application of the safeguard clause on Justice, unless it manages to fix the deficiencies in the judicial system, persisting after minister Macovei's 'reform' and after the achievements of the Superior Council of Magistracy.
The lack of transparency and efficiency in Justice, the lack of professionalism and objectivity in the approach to the high level corruption cases, the mess with the Criminal and the Civil Codes, as well as the passivity of the Superior Council of Magistracy may bring sanctions against Romania. Any EU state may point to the instability of Romanian Justice and it may effect in temporary suspension of some agreements and decisions contracted with Romania, European arrest warrants included.
The above-mentioned document on the "establishing a mechanism for cooperation and verification of progress in Romania to address specific benchmarks in the areas of judicial reform and the fight against corruption" settles that Romania must urgently fix some Justice flaws and report on it periodically.
The European Commission's measures pursue that administrative and judicial decisions in Romania, reached in areas such as freedom, security, Justice and internal market should respect the rule of law and in the future be recognised by the EU members. The failures of the 'Macovei reform' must be fixed son.
In the Report presented in September 26, 2006 the Commission identified several remaining issues, related especially to the accountability and efficiency of the judicial system and the law enforcement bodies, which still need progress in order to guarantee the rule of law. Therefore the Decision provides Romania with benchmarks for Justice so that it can avoid the safeguard clause.
The first report is due in March 31, 2007
The remaining issues are to be settled soon by measures providing real guarantees to EU citizens. In the Decision there is mentioned: "If Romania should fail to address the benchmarks adequately, the Commission may apply safeguard measures based on Articles 37 and 38 of the Act of Accession, including the suspension of the Member States' obligation to recognise and execute, under the conditions laid down in the Community law, Romanian judgements and judicial decisions, such as European arrest warrants. (...) The present Decision should be repealed when all the benchmarks have been satisfactorily fulfilled."
Starting with 2007, by March 31 of each year Romania is to provide the Commission with a Report on the progress made and the Commission "will communicate to the European Parliament and the Council its own comments and findings" on the respective document.
Here are the main benchmarks for Romania, as included in the Decision:
1." Ensure a more transparent and efficient judicial process notably by enhancing the capacity and accountability of the Superior Council of Magistracy. Report and monitor the impact of the new civil and penal procedures codes."
2. "Establish, as foreseen, an integrity agency with responsibilities for verifying assets, incompatibilities and potential conflicts of interest, and for issuing mandatory decisions on the basis of which dissuasive sanctions can be taken."
3. "Building on progress already made, continue to conduct professional, non-partisan investigations into allegations of high-level corruption."
4. "Take further measures to prevent and fight against corruption, in particular within the local government."
In case of failure, the documents invokes sanctions already agreed on in the Act of Accession of Bulgaria and Romania: "These measures may take the form of temporary suspension of the application of relevant provisions and decisions in the relations between Bulgaria or Romania and any other Member State or Member States, without prejudice to the continuation of close judicial cooperation. The safeguard clause may be invoked even before accession on the basis of the monitoring findings and the measures adopted shall enter into force in the first day of accession unless they provide for a later date. The measures shall be maintained no longer than strictly necessary and, anyway, shall be lifted when the shortcomings are remedied. They may however be applied beyond the period specified in the first paragraph as long as these shortcomings persist."
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