Elke Tindemans: MCV should be maintained in Romania but only to help

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Belgian Senator Elke Tindemans, Chairman of the Belgium-Romania Friendship Group in the Belgian Federal Parliament, stated on Wednesday that the Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification (MCV) in Romania’s case should be maintained, but she underlined that it represented a ‘method to help, not criticise’ the country.

‘I know and I am certain that Romania makes great efforts (in the field of justice reform – editor’s note), but perhaps these are not visible enough abroad and I believe this support and help’ are for Romanians’ own sake, said Tindemans, answering questions put by Romanian journalists attending debates organized by the Belgian Senate on the occasion of the 130th anniversary of Romanian-Belgian diplomatic relations.

Two days ago, Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi said in Brussels that Romania hoped the progress it registered in the field of judicial system reform should be correctly reflected in the European Commission’s interim report, which was expected to be released in early March.
The topic of the Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification, a mechanism in which the EU executive drafts the evaluation reports every summer and the interim reports, was tackled during a bilateral discussion held on Monday by Baconschi with his Belgian counterpart Steven Vanackere, during the meetings of the EU Foreign Affairs Council.

‘I have expressed again our opinion according to which the link between MCV and other topics, such as the Schengen Area accession, is not justified because the Schengen issues have their own verification and validation mechanisms.
There are some Nordic member states and Benelux, grosso modo, which are convinced that Romania did not make enough progress on the judicial system reform and that the mechanism should be maintained sine die, which does not seem a reasonable thing to me. I said we would agree either with setting a date for lifting the MCV, or with the gradual elimination of benchmarks’ included in this mechanism, said Baconschi.

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