President Klaus Iohannis commented some of his recent statements and answered criticism at Adevarul Live on Wednesday.
Iohannis explained that he hadn’t stated he wanted Cooperation and Verification Mechanism’s lifting because he did not like it, but it just wanted to make an appeal to work, adding he also presented a timetable for accomplishing this target, until the end of Parliament and Superior Council of Magistracy’s terms.
Media slammed Iohannis’ statements on CVM the previous day. The Romanian head of state had said during CSM meeting on Tuesday that one of the major targets of the judicial system is Cooperation and Verification Mechanism’s lifting. In his view, Romania should be evaluated with the objectivity that it deserves.
Now, the head of state pointed out that he did not mean to criticize the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, but to set a target, to prove Romania had met all criteria. “CVM was invented as a tool of control and verification in order to help Romania. When Romania meets all targets and becomes a 100 percent member of EU, it is clear that this instrument should not exist anymore (…) I did not say I want MCV lifting because I don’t like it, I just want us to become so good that the CVM should not be necessary anymore,” Iohannis told Adevarul Live.
The Romanian President also set a timetable for CMV lifting, “when the current CSM and Parliament are ending their terms”, meaning in 2016 for the Parliament and end of 2017 for the Superior Council of Magistracy. “I submitted a reasonable timetable. We are not ready today (for CVM lifting), I didn’t mean today however. We have to do our homework, the evaluation must be objective so that, in a reasonable time, Romania should be where our partners and we want it to be, a stable rule of law state, with an independent justice system, with all requirements met. It was an appeal to get working in order to fulfill these targets,” the head of state further explained.
Asked by “Gandul” daily to express an opinion about President Iohannis’ statement on CVM, European Commission’s spokesperson, Margaritas Schinas said the European executive would not comment on that until next week, when Klaus Iohannis is expected to meet the new EC president, Jean-Claude Juncker and to talk also about CVM.
On the other hand, Iohannis said he also hopes that Schengen accession to be settled in a reasonable time, adding they will see after the talks with the European partners if Bucharest needs to improve something in this respect or it is just a matter of “diplomatic negotiation”.
As for other suggestions Iohannis made during the CSM meeting that elected the new institution’s leadership for the next 2 years, Iohannis said that Justice must not turn into a media show, when asked about what he meant by “files leaks” on Tuesday. Regarding his proposal that Romanian Prosecutor General should be a member of the Supreme Council of National Defense (CSAT), Iohannis said we should give up the idea of the three state powers that must watch one another.
On the other hand, he did not approve one of CSM members’ proposals that politicians must be sanctioned even stripped off their positions if attacking the justice.
The Romanian president was also slammed for decorating the leader of former political prisoners association, Octav Bjoza, the Center of Anti-Semitism Fighting claiming Bjoza supports a neo- Nazi movement. In retort, Iohannis said he did not trace any sign of suspicion on Bjoza’ s activity.
Relation with PM Ponta, intelligence services
As for the relation with Prime Minister Victor Ponta, President Iohannis said they did not have any cohabitation pact or deal, but he considers it is a normal situation to meet the premier when necessary.
Asked if he considers appointing new directors for the Romanian intelligence services, Iohannis said he would analyze this topic and would inform on his decision in the upcoming weeks. Yet, the president suggested changing the Romanian Intelligence Service head is “an artificial story”. “The position is taken, SRI is working well, I don’t see why we should force such a discussion. I really don’t think we should make a story of it,” the head of stated said.