Debate on the rule of law in Romania in Strasbourg. Commissioner: Romania must urgently get back on the path of reforms

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MEPs and representatives of the European Commission have discussed in Strasbourg on the observance of the rule of law in Romania.

Romania must get back on the path of reforms, aid EU Commissioner for Justice, Vera Jourova, while presenting the situation of the rule of law in Romania.

Jourova said the debate is not on technical issues and brings no new facts from the last November, while no evolution has bee recorded after the CVM report last year.

She gave an ultimatum to our country, stressing that Romania must urgently get back on the path of reforms and that it is not too late for that.

If there is no progress, then the Commission must take actions”, Jourova warned.

Jourova recalled her own experience in 2006 when she was accused of corruption, underlining that, it’s precisely why she would be „the last person” accused that she might do something negative to Romania.

The EC Commissioner also stated that in Romania „the rule of law might be systematically violated”, while the independence and the impartiality of the justice might be jeopardized.

Jourova has also referred to the actions of the Romanian Government that has strengthened the special section for the investigation of magistrates.

All these elements are raising our joint concerns, while revealing a concerning trend. The situation is extremely volatile. If these concerns are not tackled, then the EC will act with all the means it has. It’s not too late for Romania to get back on the path of reforms”, Jourova concluded.

Portuguese MEP Ana Gomes (PES) has launched a harsh attack against the Romanian Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea during the EP debate, stating that the Romanian Government is captured by the PSD leader who created a criminal organisation.

“I voted here in the European Parliament for Romania to join the EU, I have fought against those who did not want Romania to enter the EU (…) And now, 15 years after, I am terrified that the Romanian Presidency is not even here, the representatives of the Romanian government are captured by Liviu Dragnea who has just created a criminal organisation to steal millions of euros from the EU funds”, Gomes argued.

She added she had always slammed what’s happening in Romania, hailing PES’s move to suspend cooperation with PSD. “If we want to defend the Romanian citizens who are facing cold weather while asking for a rule of law, then we must endorse the fight against corruption”, Gomes said.

MEP Ingeborg Grassle has deplored the pressures made against appointing Laura Codruta Kovesi at the helm of the European Prosecutor’s Office, saying that the French candidate cannot be the first chief prosecutor under these circumstances.

On the other hand, MEP Josef Weidenholzer, representatives of the Austrian Socialists in the European Parliament, said that Romania had made progress on the rule of law and contradicted his fellow MEPs who slammed the side-slips of the rule of law in Romania.

Dutch MEP Sofia in ‘t Veld argued that she is annoyed that the Romanian officials had missed this discussion, as Romania holds the presidency of the EU Council, but also voiced regret about Frans Timmermans’ absence.

Romanian Liberal MEP Siegfried Muresan stated that millions of honest people in Romania don’t want either amnesty or pardon, referring to the amendments the ruling coalition in Bucharest wants to operate on the justice laws.

Muresan urged the Government in Bucharest to enforce the European experts’ recommendations and to consider the people’s will.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been taking to the streets for two years to defend the European values. Politicians have the duty to always listen to the people’s will and politicians are banned from ever amending laws in their own interest”, he argued.

In her turn, Romanian MEP Monica Macovei has called on the European officials not to let Romania become the prisoner „of some hundreds of politicians” in the country „who hold the levers of power”. She also said the ruling power in Bucharest is subduing the country to „a criminal dictatorship” that prompted the country to lose four millions citizens.

We are desperately witnessing how the country is being sunk under the blow of Dragnea, Tariceanu and their gang (…) Our breaking from Europe is the nightmare that our history has experienced for decades. This is the last train that we can catch. We want in Europe“, Macovei said.

On the other side, Romanian MEPs Renate Weber and Maria Grapini have rejected the MEPs and the EC criticism, criticising the double standard used by the European officials and referring to the public statements of several EU leaders who asked that investigation against Kovesi in Romania should be stopped.

„Tajani, Verhosfstadt have put pressure on the judges. It’s time you end the double standards, even during the electoral campaign”, said Weber.

Maria Grapini said the entire debate is a failure, criticising the absence of the EU top leaders and calling them  „cowards”. „Mr. Weber dared come to Romania to stop a trial. Through the European officials’ interventions have affected the justice in Romania”, Grapini argued.

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