Embassies to Romania take new stand on justice laws: Avoid any action that could weaken the independence of justice

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The embassies of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden to Romania sent a joint press release on Thursday evening, calling on “all parties involved” in the justice reform process “to avoid any action that could lead to a weakening of the independence of the judiciary system in Romania and fight against corruption.”

The seven embassies said they want to reiterare that their countries have a common fate with Romania “based on common values and especially on the rule of law,” while reminding Romania’s progress on justice affairs and warning over the “risks” associated with the proposed justice law amendments.

We admit that Romania has made significant progress over the last decade in building a path and implementing credible reforms in the field of justice. However, we believe that the recently adopted laws concerning the justice reform, as they are now, as well as the recent amendmentss operated on the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, risk to endanger these progresses,” says the press release.

The seven diplomatic missions exemplified that the European Union Council of December 12 adopted a series of conclusions related to the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) with respect to the reform of the judiciary and fight against corruption in Romania. “These conclusions particularly emphasize on <the need for predictability, full transparency and inclusive consultations> on the justice reform, according to the provisions of the report of the European Commission under the CVM. Moreover, the Council requested Romania to avoid any backtrack,” the embassies point out.

The embassies warn over some potential actions that could lead to the “weakening of the independence” of the judiciary.

In this context, we call on all the parties involved in the justice reform process to avoid any action that could lead to the weakening of the justice system and the fight against corruption and to immediately require the necessary approval of the Venice Commission, in order to maintain the independence of the judiciary and keep the overall reform process intact,” the representatives of the seven countries argue, invoking the “common European commitment.”

We trust that all political actors involved will pay the due attention to these legitimate concerns, according to our common European commitment and we remain ready to support Romania in its efforts to reaffirm this commitment,” the press release concludes.

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