The European Commission has called on the Romanian government to re-evaluate the emergency ordinance regarding the amending of the criminal code and the criminal procedure code, as well as the draft bill on pardon, saying “it is of concern what happened during the past days.
“During the past 28 years, one way or another, I have followed the developments in Romania. If we look at the progress during this period, we can only be impressed by the will of the Romanian people in its effort to become a functional democracy,” Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, said on Thursday during a debate in the European Parliament plenum in Brussels.
He said the progress is included in the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) report, adding that Romania is in the last round of consolidating the rule of law, the round before this status becomes irreversible.
The EC First Vice-President said “it is of concern what happened in the past few days” with the adoption of the emergency ordinance on amending the criminal code and the criminal procedure code, as well as with the draft bill on pardon.
“I call on the government to re-evaluate what it has done,” Timmermans said, underscoring that Romania “deserves politicians and governments which support the fight against corruption.”
He called on the government not to turn the back in development and not to take steps in the opposite direction, while continuing the fight against corruption, although painful.
“Romanians deserve to live in a society without corruption,” Timmermans said.
Spanish MEP Esteban González Pons, Vice-President of the EPP Group in European Parliament, stated before this speech he is “worried about the government actions” which wants to limit the fight against corruption.
“Being an EU member does not mean only collecting European funds. You need to observe a set of values. No one is above the law. You have to admit justice has to be balanced and that the offenders should be punished,” the Spanish MEP said.
“The government has parliamentary majority, this does not mean it can do whatever it wants, arbitrarily. (…) You cannot have first and second rank citizens, some observe the law, some don’t.”
“The Romanian government turns its back to long years of fight against corruption, and it has an abusive behaviour. The government has time to take steps back and we, the European parliament, ask it to take the steps back,” Esteban González Pons said.
Josef Weidenholzer, Vice-president of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) Group said that his group will send a mission to assess what is happening in Romania.
He stressed the need for a thorough analysis aimed at how sanctions are imposed, the importance of preventing and of the activity of the intelligence services activity, “which should not have any role in this fight” against corruption.
Weidenholzer also said that the situation in Romania will be “widely discussed” in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the EP. “We all want the situation in Romania to improve,” he added.