Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă accused Western European leaders of double standards in criticizing her country over corruption and a crackdown on anti-government protests.
Dăncilă, whose government holds the EU’s rotating presidency, said corruption is also a problem in Western Europe and noted there had been no outcry among EU leaders when French riot police clashed with protesters from the Yellow Jackets movement, politico.eu reads on Monday.
The prime minister’s remarks reflect tensions between Eastern and Western governments in the EU, which have heightened in recent years and threaten to make finding common ground among the bloc’s leaders increasingly difficult.
“Romania is not allowed what other countries are allowed to do,” Dăncilă said in an interview with POLITICO at the Victoria Palace, a grandiose building housing the government in central Bucharest.
Dăncilă, seated at a table in a large reception room whose elegance contrasts with more run-down parts of the palace, said her country is not treated equally within the EU.
“I saw what happened with the Yellow Jackets in France,” she said, referring to the massive street protests against French President Emmanuel Macron’s policies which also resulted in violence. “No one had any reaction. It’s a double standard. I didn’t see anyone come to the European Parliament and say ‘We want a resolution on France.’”
The prime minister, flanked by the Romanian and EU flags, also pushed back against comparisons between her government and those in Budapest and Warsaw, both of which are in the midst of EU censure proceedings over accusations they are breaching the bloc’s fundamental values.
Dăncilă also said it’s unfair that her country and Bulgaria are the only ones subject to anti-corruption monitoring through a yearly report from the European Commission.
Dăncilă described herself as “a convinced pro-European” and said she will talk with European leaders in the coming days to reassure them about the state of democracy and rule of law in Romania. She will meet European Council President Donald Tusk this Thursday.
“To solve certain issues I don’t think you need to put someone in a corner or point the finger at them – the others need to come to support you to solve these issues,” Dăncilă said for Politico.
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