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UPDATE/JusMin Birchall: CVM Report is critical; only two recommendations have been fulfilled

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Ana Birchall

Justice Minister Ana Birchall stated on Tuesday that the European Commission Report regarding the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) is a critical one, showing that only two recommendations have been fulfilled out of the 12 included in the January 2017 Report.

"Certainly, we would have wanted a better report. I took note of the assessment of the European Commission regarding the stage of fulfillment of the 12 recommendations in the January 2017 Report and the 8 additional recommendations in November 2018. It finds that only two recommendations have been fulfilled of the ones made in 2017, the one regarding the activity of the National Agency for the Management of Seized Assets - ANABI, an institution under the Justice Ministry, and the one regarding the implementation of the PREVENT system by the ANI [the National integrity Agency]. It is noted that further progress has been made within recommendations no. 3 and 5 in 2017. As you have noticed, the Report is critical in terms of the 8 recommendations occasioned by the CVM Report in November 2018," Bircahll said in a press statement.

She underscored that the CVM Report includes positive references regarding the activity of the Government and the Justice Ministry.

"The tonality of the Report clearly distinguishes two periods: November 2018 - April 2019 and April 2019 - present. In respect to the Government's activity, through the Justice Ministry, in the second period analysed in the report, there are at least seven explicit positive references regarding the Justice Minister and Justice Ministry. As an example, I quote: 'In July 2019, the Minister of Justice expressed a willingness to identify appropriate legislative solutions, in consultation with the judiciary and Parliament, as part of a new process of structured consultation'," Birchall mentioned.

Justice Minister Birchall believes that the Report of the European Commission reflects "in an objective manner" the factual situation. She said that the document embitters her.

"I appreciate that this year's report reflects, in general, in an objective manner, the factual situation and has a more favourable tone than the previous one regarding the Government's activity, through the Justice Ministry, after the end of April 2019. Also reflected in a positive light is the commitment of Romania's Prime Minister, assumed within the meeting of June with the President and First Vice-President of the European Commission, of not continuing any controversial judicial reform and furthering the dialogue within the CVM, a thing which also happened. The Report notes, with sufficient accuracy, the manner in which each institution or authority of the Romanian state involved in the management of the judicial system reform and in the prevention and fight against corruption has fulfilled their role. However, I can say that at a personal level, this report embitters me, in terms of the activity of the Justice Ministry during my tenure the demarches which I promoted are noted in a positive manner," Birchall conveyed.

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