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Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Victor Ponta, Prime Minister of Romania

It was a good and constructive meeting.

We mainly discussed the justice system and how European funds can best be used.

On the justice system, I have re-iterated the need for a well-functioning, independent judicial system, and respect for democratic institutions and the rule of law. I welcome the fact that many of the points of concern I raised in July have been addressed.

I have insisted in particular on the importance that the appointments of the new General Prosecutor and the Head of the Anti-Corruption Directorate are done in an objective and independent manner. These two people will define the reputation of the judiciary and must have a track record of integrity and professionalism.

We have also discussed the management and control of EU funds. I have urged the Prime Minister to take immediate measures to solve the issues that led to the interruption of payments for certain EU programmes. Unless urgent action is taken, the absorption of EU funds will be seriously compromised. As the main driver of growth it’s crucial that there is a major push – irrespective of the upcoming election – to implement the critical measures to improve the absorption capacity.

I believe it is in Romania’s interest that all political forces act with responsibility and restraint as the elections draw near.

Bucuresti, 17.10.2012

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