At the beginning of the College meeting, the EC first vice-president Frans Timmermans has warned the Government in Bucharest to avoid taking actions that would affect the judiciary system and would provide immunity for the top officials who had been sentenced for corruption. The EC first vice-president that the Romanian authorities must get back to a correct justice reform and to abstain from any measures that would lead to a setback.
Timmermans said he had discussed with the Romanian PM Viorica Dancila many times and that he had sent her clear messages that talk is not enough and that immediate actions must be taken.
„I showed her very clearly that talking for the sake of talking is not enough and that urgent measures need to be taken as soon as possible,” the EC top official said, mentioning the technical discussions had been also resumed, covering all topics, all recommendations in the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, the emergency ordinances, the directive on the benefit of doubt, on freezing and seizing assets and the special section to investigate magistrates.
He said that they had a dialogue and constructive discussion, but „unfortunately, we have not reached the conclusion that Romania is on the right track.”
Therefore, Timmermans stressed that the European Commision is ready to take action on this matter in the upcoming days, if its recommendations are not observed. “We cannot take measures against an emergency ordinance that has not yet been approved,” he added.
The College of Commissioners is the equivalent of the government sittings. Consisting of 28 Commissioners, it meets as a general rule at least once per week. This weekly decision-making procedure is called the oral procedure. In practice, the Commissioners meet every Wednesday morning in Brussels, but, during the plenary sessions of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the meeting takes place on a Tuesday.
In addition to the weekly meetings, the President of the Commission can also call for extraordinary Commission meetings, when circumstances require. These are held to discuss a particular topic, or in response to a specific event.
In a previous tweet also on Tuesday, the EC deputy spokeswoman quoted Juncker saying “
@JunckerEU #EuranetPlusSummit2019 “I am in favour of new tools to safeguard #RuleOfLaw in the future: @EU_Commission should draw up once or twice per year a report on respect of #RuleofLaw in all Member States. We need objective an judgement.”
The meeting comes after the Commission spokesperson Margaritas Schinas confirmed the phone talk held last Thursday between first vice-president of the EC, Frans Timmermans and Romanian PM Viorica Dancila on the topic of the emergency ordinances intended to amend the criminal codes. According to that source, Dancila promised Timmermans that the Government in Bucharest will not adopt any GEO to amend the criminal legislation.
However, local mass media reports that ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD) is pushing the Government in Bucharest to adopt the emergency ordinance to amend the Criminal Codes today.
According to Hotnews.ro, the Social Democrats led by Liviu Dragnea are putting pressure on the Justice minister, Tudorel Toader, to sign the emergency ordinances to amend the criminal codes, while threatening that he will lose his minister seat. Sources quoted by the above-mentioned news platform disclosed that minister Toader and PM Viorica Dancila had talked for three hours in Dragnea’s office in the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday, with Toader asking again for a new delay in adopting the GEOs.
PSD chairman Dragnea would have threatened the Justice minister that he will be sacked if he doesn’t assume all amendments of the criminal codes, including the appeal for annulment.