Threats to the Rule of Law: The Pitfalls of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism

28 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2021

Date Written: December 1, 2020


The Juncker Commission has recently indicated that the experienced gained from the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) is relevant when addressing rule of law challenges in all Member States. It has also proposed to monitor the rule of law in all Member States. Bulgaria and Romania are the only EU members which are subjected to the CVM because they did not fully fulfill the accession criteria on the rule of law when they acceded to the Union in 2007. In 2018, the Juncker Commission identified important progress in Bulgaria and promised to lift the mechanism for the country before the end of its term. Yet, has the CVM helped Bulgaria strengthen its rule of law? By using Bulgaria’s CVM as a case study, this article showcases some of the pitfalls of this mechanism, including the quality of the Commission’s monitoring – namely, that Bulgaria’s rule of law declined despite the CVM. Dissecting this phenomenon is important not just in light of the Commission’s own call to study the experience gained from the CVM, but also in view of growing concerns about dual standards in enforcing EU values in the Union.

Note: “Reprinted from European Public Law, Volume 26, Issue 3 (2020) pp. 741 – 768, with permission of Kluwer Law International.”

Keywords: Rule of Law, EU Values, European Convention on Human Rights, Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), Romania, Bulgaria, Law Reform, Judicial Independence, Political Judicial Council, Political Prosecutor’s Office 1

Suggested Citation

Vassileva, Radosveta, Threats to the Rule of Law: The Pitfalls of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (December 1, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Radosveta Vassileva (Contact Author)

Middlesex University - School of Law ( email )

The Burroughs
WG 11
London, NW4 4BT
United Kingdom

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