Judicial cooperation with Bulgaria must end

23 July 2008

Judicial cooperation with Bulgaria must end

The SP wants to see judicial and police cooperation between Bulgaria and the rest of the EU's member states halted, now that even the European Commission has said that it considers that corruption and crime there are not being satisfactorily addressed. Halting payments to the country from EU funds is, for SP Member of Parliament Emile Roemer, insufficient. "Despite the Commission's observations, a Bulgarian judge will still soon be able to demand that we extradite a suspect, and Bulgaria continues to take part in joint decisions on EU rules concerning judicial policy," Roemer says. "This just doesn't square up. First of all European minimum standards must be met, then we can talk about cooperation."

Emile RoemerThe problems in Bulgaria and to a lesser extent in Romania were already known about before their accession to the EU, which is why the SP voted against allowing either country in. In the end the EU gave its agreement to accession, but under certain conditions. Since accession, it has been repeatedly observed that Bulgaria in particular was not meeting the required standards and that progress there was extremely slow. "In the accession conditions the possibility to suspend parts of the judicial cooperation procedures if the criteria are not quickly fulfilled is explicitly spelt out," Roemer says. "Why is no use being made of this possibility? The cabinet has in the recent past expressed the view that any further disappointing reports could not be allowed to remain without consequences. It's time now that we made it clear what was meant by that."

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