EU blasts Romania over judicial independence

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July 18, 2012, 1:51 p.m. | World — by Associated Press

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, right, ushers Romania's Prime Minister Victor-Viorel Ponta upon his arrival at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. Romania's prime minister was meeting with top EU officials Thursday to explain the president's impeachment by parliament, after the EU raised concerns about the hurried manner in which the ouster was carried out.
© AP

Associated Press

Associated Press

BRUSSELS — The European Union is sharply criticizing Romania's government, saying its actions have undermined the rule of law and independence of the judiciary in one of the bloc's newest members.

In a scathing progress report Wednesday, the EU's executive commission said it was particularly concerned by "manipulations which affect institutions (and) members of the judiciary and have a serious impact on society as a whole."

The report addresses political instability in Romania that began when Prime Minister Victor Ponta's government impeached President Traian Basescu, accusing him of meddling in affairs beyond his authority.

The EU allowed Romania and Bulgaria to join in 2007 despite delays in reforming their judicial systems and combating corruption and organized crime. Since then, it has been issuing regular reports on their progress on these issues.

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