José Manuel Durão Barroso
18 July 2012. Over the last three weeks, exceptional events in Romania have been a major source of concern for the Commission and for the European Union, said José Manuel Durão Barroso President of the European Commission in a press statement today. Challenging judicial decisions, undermining the constitutional court, overturning established procedures and removing key checks and balances have called into question the Government’s commitment to respect the rule of law, he added. The report contained recommendations in order to complete the implementation of the benchmarks set by the Commission. Implementation of the recommendations would not only establish a solid judicial system, but also help to ensure a stable, credible and investment-friendly economic environment and to reassure financial markets. Prime Minister Ponta has confirmed in writing his agreement to implement all of the measures addressing Commission’s concerns, including revoking the key emergency ordinances to restore the competences of the Constitutional Court and implement its rulings over the forthcoming referendum. The statement also referred to corruption in Bulgaria and noted “taking a five-year perspective, relevant progress has been achieved with the adoption of the basic legislative framework and the creation of important new institutions”. Supreme Judicial Council (VSS) Members criticised the EC Report on Bulgaria. Anelia Mingova, Chair of the VSS, has argued that the newly published EC report on Bulgaria’s five-year progress in the sphere of justice and home affairs contains exaggerated criticism. “We are not denying the problems listed in the EC report but they are, in a sense, extreme,” Mingova told journalists Wednesday. The press conference was also attended by Boris Velchev, Chief Prosecutor, Lazar Gruev, Chair of the Supreme Court of Cassation (VKS), Georgi Kolev, Chair of the Supreme Administrative Court (VAS), and Ana Karaivanova, head of the VSS Inspectorate.