Diaconescu: Romania no longer under threat of sanctions, such as safeguard clause activation

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The General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) validated, in Brussels, the recommendation contained by the European Commission’s Report on Justice to discard the possibility of activation of the safeguard clause, Foreign Minister Cristian Diaconescu told.

„Through this decision the Council validated the recommendation contained by the European Commission’s summer report to cease the likelihood of activating the safeguard clause.

As well, the possibility of correlation of the Mechanism of Cooperation and Verification (MCV) with European financing for Romania, or eventually with its integration into the Schengen Accord was eliminated, stressed Cristian Diaconescu.

He underlined that, concretely, Romania is off the sanctions realm and that, currently, we no longer talk about the activation of the safeguard clause in the field of justice. However, the Minister noted that the formal decision is to be taken when Romania has three years since its accession.

At the same time, Chief of Romanian diplomacy emphasized that the reform in the judiciary system in Romania must be continued, warning that there is the risk if, in the case of „lack of interest” on the part of some Romanian institutions, some EU member states might argue in favor of the correlation of the management of European funds or the adherence to the Schengen Space with MCV.

„On the other hand we must be aware that the reform process of the judiciary system must be continued. There is still a series of domains where the progress is absent and it is possible that, in the case of a lack of interest on the part of the Romanian institutions as for the reform process of the judiciary system we could assist to a move of some member state in order to return from the political standpoint to the linkage between the European funds management or adherence to Schengen and MCV”, the Minister pointed out.

Asked if criticism was brought in GAERC in connection with the justice reform in Romania Cristian Diaconescu said that „there was no problem of criticism in the Council’s plenary”.

„It was no question of criticism here, in the Council’s plenary, all aspects were solved at technical level. We were mainly concerned that none of the provisions of these conclusion make the connection between MCV and other cooperation fields between Romania and EU, especially financial issues and the Schengen Accord”.

EU foreign ministers examined on Monday, in Brussels, the progress made by Romania and Bulgaria in the field of justice reform and the fight against corruption.

They urged these countries to intensify their efforts and continue MCV.
The ministers’ analysis is based on the European Commission July reports, where it is remarked that progress was made by both countries, but some efforts are further needed.

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