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The European Commission rebuked Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Monday for failing to meet EU demands to uphold the rule of law and urged him to speed up reforms.
In a report published last week, the EU’s executive said Romania’s justice system and anti-corruption measures were not strong enough. It conceded the country had taken some steps in recent months to safeguard constitutional law.
Romania will remain under special European Union monitoring and be excluded from the passport-free Schengen zone.
President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barros said: “We need to see further progress on independence of the judiciary and appointment of two key-posts.”
He added: “We will also look to politicians to set an example by stepping aside where integrity rulings or corruption charges exist.”
Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta insisted his government had addressed all concerns, including those about press freedom: “The freedom of media in Romania like in the whole of Europe is going to be respected and is going to be considered as a fundamental value.”
Another European Commission report into the country’s progress will be published at the end of the year.