The European Commission Once Again Shows that Romania Has Not Done Its Homework
The Monitoring Report released by the European Commission, far from bringing new ascertainment or comments in what regards the progress made by Romania within the Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification, surprises because of its apparently softer tone regarding the lack of accomplishments.
Transparency International Romania is profoundly concerned that for the fourth consecutive reporting period within the Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification (MCV) Romania has not shown any real evolutions in what regards the reform of the judiciary system or the fight against corruption. The only progress elements mentioned in the Commission’s Report are purely statistical or descriptive, but once again there was no evaluation of the impact of the measures that have been adopted or proposed. More that that, the mere checking of certain convictions in corruption cases only shows that the interventions are focused rather on punctual cases than systemic measures for securing the anticorruption system.
The conclusions of this year’s EC Report indicate a situation resembling the one recorded for Romania in the Corruption Perception Index for 2009, in which, for the first time since 2002, Romania saw no improvement in the results obtained in the fight against corruption. The Bucharest authorities, irregardless of their political affiliation, respond to the critics brought in the monitoring process with measures lacking both content and impact. Therefore, although significant legislative measures have been adopted since the establishment of the MCV, their efficiency and impact have not been fully proven by practice.
An emblematical case in this concern is the Law 52/2003 regarding decisional transparency, which by not being complied to led to major deficiencies in the adoption process of the new Codes. The non-transparent approach of the decisional process also led to similar consequences in what regards the law on unique wages, the pension and education laws, as well as the process of elaborating and adopting local budgets. The lack of consultations at society’s level regarding certain projects with major effects on the interactions and the structures of society led to the adoption of certain documents that still need to prove their opportunity and adequacy to the realities of Romania.
TI-Romania has repeatedly shown that maintaining this interim situation regarding the effectiveness of the fight against corruption has had consequences in the excessive vulnerability of all integrity pillars, including the new ones that have been created under the pressure of the safeguard clause.
As one can observe from the CE analysis, since the second half of 2009, “no effective improvement in what regards the difficult situation of the human resources in the judiciary system could be noted”. The judiciary protests in September have indeed aggravated the crisis within the system, but the lack of concrete and coherent actions aimed at correcting the depreciation policy of the statute of the juridical profession makes predictable not only the lack of a improvement of this state, but also the risk of the continuation of the system’s crisis. The aggravation of staff deficit was predictable in the light of the fact that during 2009 there have been constant pressures regarding the modification of the professional status and of the wages of the magistrates.
All these seriously affect the credibility of the reforms and generally that of Romania itself, and contribute to the increased reduction of Romania’s competitiveness on the European public funds market. The situation is even more severe as Romania is also currently confronting problems in managing the funds that have been already obtained, funds that could compensate part of the effects of the financial crisis and that could sustain the regulation and the fulfilment of obligations efforts.
In this context, TI-Romania considers that maintaining the Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification will generate progress in reforming the judiciary system and in the fight against corruption only if it will be accompanied by a mechanism for evaluating the impact of the adopted measures. The lack of such a mechanism will more likely lead to perpetuating and amplifying irregularity situations, rather than to the reduction of the vulnerabilities that affect the national integrity system.
Transparency International Romania recommends the authorities in Bucharest to approach the fight against corruption from the perspective of applying systematic and coherent measures that have a real impact from the point of view of the policies regarding the prevention and the fight against corruption. These will have the merit of closing the vulnerabilities of the entire system, since exclusively applying sanctioning measures is not able solve the systemic problems that Romania faces.
Assuring the rule of law and the fight against corruption are national priorities that Romania cannot afford to ignore, and which must be approached irregardless of the existence or non-existence or international monitoring or the conclusions of such monitoring.
The Board of Directors of Transparency International Romania
Tel: +40 213 177 170 sau +40 788 688 566