Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, has sent a letter to President Klaus Iohannis, urging the Romanian authorities to request the Venice Commission opinion on the reforms in the judiciary field conducted by the Romanian Parliament.
“The Council of Europe is committed to giving the highest priority to working with our member States in order to further strengthen the independence and impartiality of the judiciaries in Europe.
For this reason I have been attentively following the legislative process that led this week to the adoption by the Romanian Parliament of three texts concerning the judiciary (texts on the Superior Council of Magistracy, the status of judges and prosecutors and the judicial organisation). I am aware that these reforms are widely discussed by stakeholders and Romanian society in general.
In the spirit of the Council of Europe’s Plan of Action on strengthening judicial independence and impartiality, adopted in 2016 by our 47 member States including Romania, it is essential that when implementing reforms on the judiciary, our member States make full use of the range of tools and mechanisms that the Organisation puts at their disposal.
An opinion of the Venice Commission would provide clarity on the compatibility of the above-mentioned texts with fundamental rule of law standards.
For this reason, I urge the Romanian authorities to submit them to the Venice Commission.
This would support the Romanian authorities in their work. It would also be complementary to the urgent assessment of these texts which is being prepared by our Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) in the light of anti-corruption standards,” the letter reads.