Commission reports on progress in Bulgaria and Romania under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism and intensifies preparedness work for Brexit
Cooperation and Verification Mechanism for Bulgaria and Romania
The European Commission issued today its latest reports on steps taken by Bulgaria and Romania to meet their commitments on judicial reform and the fight against corruption, and in the case of Bulgaria organised crime, in the context of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism.
The report on Bulgaria looks at the progress made over the past year to meet the final 17 recommendations issued by the Commission in the January 2017 report and positively notes Bulgaria’s continued efforts and determination to implement those recommendations. The Commission is confident that Bulgaria - if it pursues the current positive trend - will be able to fulfil all the remaining recommendations and thereby the outstanding benchmarks. This will enable the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism process for Bulgaria to then be concluded before the end of this Commission's mandate - in line with the orientation given by President Jean-Claude Juncker when he started his term of office.
For Romania, the report notes that while the country has taken some steps to implement the final 12 recommendations issued by the Commission in January 2017, recent developments have reversed the course of progress and called into question the positive assessment made back in January 2017. The recommendations are no longer sufficient to meet the orientation given by President Jean-Claude Juncker to conclude the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism process before the end of this Commission's mandate. Therefore, today’s report sets out a number of additional recommendations for immediate follow up. The immediate implementation of the additional measures is essential to put the reform process back on track and resume the path towards the conclusion of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism as set out in the January 2017 report.
The European Commission has today published detailed information on its ongoing preparedness and contingency work in the event of a no deal scenario in the Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom.
First, the Commission has published a Communication, which outlines a limited number of contingency actions in priority areas that could be implemented if no agreement is reached with the United Kingdom. This follows a first preparedness Communication published on 19 July 2018.
Secondly, the College of Commissioners has adopted two legislative proposals to amend existing EU law in the area of visas and energy efficiency to take account of the UK’s withdrawal. These targeted legislative adaptations are necessary, irrespective of the outcome of the withdrawal negotiations.
Thirdly, a notice has been published providing extensive information on the changes that will occur - in the event of no deal - for persons travelling between the EU and the UK, and vice versa, after 29 March 2019, or for businesses providing services in relation to such travel. It includes information on such things as border checks and customs controls, driving licences and pet passports, amongst others.
While the European Commission is working hard for a deal, and continues to put citizens first in the negotiations, the UK's withdrawal will undoubtedly cause disruption - for example in business supply chains - whether or not there is a deal. Contingency measures cannot remedy the full effects of this disruption. In the event of a no deal scenario, these disruptions will be even more significant and the speed of preparations would have to increase significantly. Contingency measures in narrowly defined areas may, exceptionally, be needed in order to protect the interests and the integrity of the EU.