Answer given by First Vice-President Timmermans on behalf of the Commission
The Commission disagrees with the Honourable Member's claim that the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) ‘is discriminatory and its results are disputed, particularly considering that the reports from one year to another contain controversial and ambiguous conclusions’. The Commission underlines that the conclusions reached in its report are based on careful analysis and a fair and objective reading of the situation. As in previous years, in March 2016 the Council unanimously concluded that it: ‘commends the Commission on its work, on the methodology followed, and it fully shares the objective and balanced analysis and recommendations contained in the reports’.(1)
The core team of civil servants directly involved on the CVM is composed of 2 resident advisers, one based in Sofia and the other in Bucharest, working full time on the CVM, and 3 staff in Brussels, working partly on the CVM. They are attached to the Secretariat-General.
Their profile is varied, including legal background, and they can also rely on the legal expertise, including judicial experience of other colleagues, in particular from the Legal Service, the European Anti-Fraud Office and the Directorates-General for Justice and Consumers, Migration and Home Affairs, Internal Market, Regional and Urban Policy and Employment, Social affairs and Inclusion, depending on the subject matter. The Commission also uses external expertise from practitioners from other Member States, such as judges and prosecutors, in the context of technical assistance supported by the Structural Reform Support Service.
The policy goals of judicial reform and the fight against corruption (as well as, in Bulgaria, the fight against organised crime) are major priorities for all institutions and Member States and have been agreed at the time of EU accession. As an element of reference, a study commissioned by the European Parliament gives an estimate of what corruption costs to the economies of EU Member States.(2)