BUCHAREST (Romania), June 17 (SeeNews) - The European Commission on Friday said it recommends to the Council that Moldova be granted candidate status if the country meets several targets regarding public administration reform and fight against corruption and organised crime.
The accession process remains based on established criteria and conditions, the Commission said in a press release.
"This allows any country in the process to progress based on own merits but also means that steps towards the EU can be reversed if the underlying conditions are not met anymore," the Commission noted.
In the Commission's view, Moldova has established a solid basis to further align with the EU acquis, but stressed that key economic reforms remain to be undertaken.
Moldova's EU accession depends on the country completing essential steps of the recently launched comprehensive justice system reform across all institutions in the justice and prosecution chains and addressing shortcomings identified by Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) , the Council of Europe and the Venice Commission.
The Commission also expects Moldova to deliver on the commitment to fight corruption at all levels by taking decisive steps towards proactive and efficient investigations, and a credible track record of prosecutions and convictions; substantially increase the take up of the recommendations of the National Anticorruption Centre.
The country is also required to implement the commitment to “de-oligarchisation” by eliminating the excessive influence of vested interests in economic, political, and public life and strengthen the fight against organised crime.
Moldova also needs to increase its capacity to deliver on reforms and provide quality public services including through stepping up implementation of public administration reform, assess and update the public administration reform strategy, the Commission said. Moreover, Moldova will have to complete the reform of Public Financial Management including improving public procurement at all levels of government and enhance the involvement of civil society in decision-making processes at all levels.
Finally, the Commission called on Moldova to strengthen the protection of human rights, particularly of vulnerable groups, and sustain its commitments to enhance gender equality and fight violence against women.
The EU's executive body also said it will monitor Moldova's progress in fulfilling these steps and report on them, together with a detailed assessment of the country, by the end of 2022.
Moldova presented its application for EU membership on March 3, in the context of Russia's invasion Ukraine.
In May, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on the European Commission to grant Moldova EU candidate status.
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