Justice minister Tudorel Toader has been heard in the Senate on Wednesday on the GRECO report issue, saying the report must be considered ‘as a guide and that it cannot impose any rules to the Romanian legislator.’
The Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) warned in its 2017 report a week ago that new legislative initiatives in some European countries, including Romania, risk disrupting previously adopted reforms to strengthen corruption prevention, which could represent violations of the anti-corruption standards of the Council of Europe.
The Justice Minister had been summoned in Parliament by the Liberals to explain the reasons that led to the anti-corruption fight setback, as the European experts show in their report.
Minister Toader argued that the GRECO report had been transformed into a much too publicized political topic and which has many “inaccuracies”. He added that he had been summoned to release the report immediately after he had got it, being accused that, otherwise, he would have something to hide.
On top of all, the Justice minister claimed that he had talked to the GRECO experts and they hadn’t seemed to live up to the level of the report’s content.
“The legislation must keep up with the criminality on one hand, but also with the standards of protecting the fundamental rights and liberties. Everyone should know and stick to his competences,” the Toader said, adding the Justice minister is not authorized to notify the Venice Commission.
In his turn, Social Democrat senator Robert Cazanciuc has slammed the GRECO report. “I don’t understand why PNL has decided to waste precious time to criticize the justice laws, when the procedure was mainly parliamentary (…) I think the role of the debate today is to set off alarm bells to our European partners for they have managed to internalize manipulative practices by reviewing in the report some texts that were not politically assumed and were being amended in Parliament or by deliberately ignoring opinions which were not compliant with the truth known by the experts. Romania has joined European structures in good faith after 1990, in the hope for a harmonious development. But to be criticized today with no reference to concrete facts, it is as if going back to 1989.” Cazanciuc argued.
In retort, USR senator Vlad Alexandrescu stated that the ruling power had avoided the Venice Commission, as the international independent evaluation on the judiciary “will bring to light the undermining the rule of law”.
“The GRECO conclusion was that the legislative procedure had been deeply tainted by the suspect rush of the PSD-ALDE Coalition”, Alexandrescu said.
Senate speaker: Anti-corruption fight, similar to the anti-bourgeois one in the 50s
In his turn, the Senate Speaker, Calin Popescu Taricenau stated that the current fight against corruption is a political action, which is not natural, according to the rule of law, adding that it relates to a similar campaign led by the communists against the middle-class and landowners in the 50s.