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Romanian president urges lawmakers to adopt justice reforms

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(BUCHAREST) - Romanian President Traian Basescu called on lawmakers on Monday to adopt several bills on the justice system, including one reforming the anti-graft agency, prior to an EU report coming this summer.

"The adoption of these bills represents a priority for Romania, considering its commitments to the European Union", Basescu wrote in the letters sent to the heads of the two parliament chambers.

He called for the bills to be voted before the summer parliamentary recess begins on July 1.

"The term for the (European) Commission to adopt the report assessing progress registered in Romania in justice reforms and the fight against corruption approaches", Basescu added.

The bills set out new codes of penal and civil procedure and restore powers to the National Agency for Integrity, created on EU advice to verify assets and identify possible conflicts of interest affecting top-level civil servants and lawmakers.

Romania's constitutional court in April ruled that the agency's main powers were contrary to the constitution, forcing the government to design new legislation.

In a report in March, the European Commission criticised Bucharest for not maintaining the pace of judicial reforms, deploring delays in high-level corruption trials and the "non-dissuasive penalties" doled out by courts.

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