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Romania Needs to Increase Democratic Reforms Pace, EU Says

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Romania, the European Union’s second-poorest member, has taken steps to address “serious concerns” about eroding democracy and needs to increase the pace of reforms to keep the judiciary independent, the EU said.

The coalition government, supported by a super majority in Parliament, has made progress in dealing with “challenges to the country’s constitutional order,” though it’s yet to appoint a new chief prosecutor and anti-corruption head, European Commission spokesman Mark Gray said today in Brussels.

Romania, which joined the EU in 2007, is being monitored by the commission since a power struggle between Prime Minister Victor Ponta and President Traian Basescu last year raised concerns that democracy is backsliding in the former communist country. The nation has since reversed Constitutional Court power-limiting laws and appointed a new Ombudsman to meet pledges to the EU.

“It has been a difficult year and I think the commission sees this report more as a signal of encouragement that we should no longer see this sort of” political turmoil, Gray said. “Progress has been made” and “we hope that 2013 will see a more stable political environment and the delivery of all those recommendations.”

The commission will release a new report on Romania’s progress under the mechanism by the end of this year, Gray said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Irina Savu in Bucharest at isavu@bloomberg.net; Andra Timu in Bucharest at atimu@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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