During its plenary meeting, held from 4 to 8 December, the Council of Europe Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) decided to carry out ad hoc urgent evaluations of the draft laws concerning the judiciary in Romania, and on two draft laws on the reorganisation of the Supreme Court and of the National Council of the Judiciary in Poland.
In both cases, GRECO will carry out the evaluations in January and/or February 2018 with a view to adopt the resulting ad hoc evaluation reports during its plenary meeting in March 2018.
It is the first time GRECO is using Rule 34 of its Rules of Procedure, recently introduced to allow an "ad hoc procedure in exceptional circumstances". This rule can be applied when an institutional reform, legislative initiative or procedural change may result in a member’s serious violation of a Council of Europe anti-corruption standard which has been the subject of any GRECO evaluation round.
GRECO has requested the heads of the delegations to GRECO of Romania and Poland to submit, by 15 January 2018, information on these draft laws for the preparation of the ad hoc evaluation reports.
In respect of Romania, the Parliament has recently registered three legislative proposals concerning the judiciary, for adoption through emergency procedure. Serious concerns have been expressed by several institutions and actors in Romania and abroad that these proposals could put at risk the effectiveness of the fight against corruption and undermine the independence of the judiciary. Likewise, in respect of Poland, similar concerns have been expressed on two draft laws on the reorganisation of the Supreme Court and of the National Council of the Judiciary.