Van Bommel urges sanctions against Romania and Bulgaria

12 February 2009

Van Bommel urges sanctions against Romania and Bulgaria

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel is urging Secretary of Stae for European Affairs Frans Timmermans to demand that the European Union impose sanctions on Romania and Bulgaria. Van Bommel was responding to today's revelation that neither country had made significant progress in the fight against corruption and organised crime.

A report published today by the European Commission shows that little if any progress has been made, while parts of it even suggest that the situation has deteriorated. In Bulgaria, for instance, stricter regulation of the financing of political parties has been held up by the country's parliament, while in Romania parliament has blocked attempts to tackle high-level corruption. “Timmermans said last September that if these countries were to make no progress within six months, measures against them should not be ruled out. I am holding him to his word.”

From the very beginning of the accession process, both Romania and Bulgaria have failed to fulfil EU membership criteria regarding the rule of law. This is why the SP voted, in 2006, against admitting the two countries. “Since then it has emerged that allowing these countries to accede while imposing conditions on their membership has not acted as any kind of spur for them to mend their ways through further reforms. It is time that police and judicial cooperation with the two was suspended. It is absolutely crazy that we are still obliged to accept judicial decisions taken in these countries when it has been determined that the rule of law there does not fulfil the European Union's minimum criteria.”

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