The ambassadors to Bulgaria of 12 EU member states released a joint statement on March 28, in response to a string of recent publications in Bulgarian media, critical of the country’s continued inclusion in the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, put in place when the country joined the EU in 2007 and intended to bring the country up to the bloc’s standards in the judiciary and in the fight against organised crime and corruption.
This is the text of the statement, signed by the ambassadors of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the UK:
In view of the recent attacks by several Bulgarian media against the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) and accusations against the Commission and its experts in order to discredit the mechanism, we, as Ambassadors of EU- member states, support the declaration of the European Commission, dated March 17 2017 and vouch for the integrity of the CVM-process and the experts involved. As stated in the recent adopted Conclusions of the Council of EU Ministers, dated March 7 2017, we commend the European Commission on its work in the framework of the CVM and strongly support its balanced and objective analysis.
The CVM was introduced and carried out with the agreement of Bulgaria and the other EU-Member States. The reports are based on a rigorous and transparent methodology, using data provided and checked by the Bulgarian authorities.
We appreciate the continued good co-operation of Bulgaria with the Commission and with the other Member States under the Mechanism, which made possible encouraging steps towards the fulfilment of the six benchmarks, as acknowledged by the Council of the EU. In this context, we strongly reiterate the need for broad and unequivocal political support for reforms and the effective implementation of the recommendations. The CVM remains an appropriate tool to assist Bulgaria in its reform efforts.
In order to achieve a record of concrete and lasting results required to satisfactorily fulfill the objectives of the Mechanism, we recall our continued readiness to support efforts of Bulgaria in this regard through EU and bilateral assistance. The speed on how quickly Bulgaria will meet the benchmarks in an irreversible way depends on the Bulgarian authorities.