The European Parliament’s JURI Committee has decided by vote on Monday to maintain its initial stance against the candidatures of Rovana Plumb (proposed by the Romanian Government as EC Commissioner) and of the Hungarian candidate Laszlo Trocsanyi . JURI Committee has decided the Romanian and Hungarian candidates are not eligible for the positions of European Commissioners, Liberal MEP Rares Bogdan has announced. The committee is to send a letter to inform the EP President David Sassoli about its stance.
@EP_Legal voted that the two commissioners-designate (RO and HU) are unable to exercise his or her functions in accordance with the Treaties and the Code of Conduct. @EP_President will now ask what further steps @vonderleyen intends to take,” Jaume Duch Guillot, Director General for Communication and Spokesperson of the European Parliament posted on Twitter.
In retort, Rovana Plumb said the JURI Committee’s decision is breaking the procedure rules of the European Parliament and that it is an “obvious political decision”. She added she will present the situation to the EP President David Sassoli and to the President-elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
At the same time, Plumb has accused President Iohannis and the Romanian Opposition leader of having blocked her candidature for the EU Commissioner seat. In a press release, Plumb says that “the unfair attitude of the JURI Committee has been encouraged by the Opposition parties in Romania, led by President Iohannis”. She also denounced “the negative lobby of the leader of Renew Europe group, Dacian Ciolos”.
Rovana Plumb had announced on Monday she has repaid the RON 800,000 loan that blocked her nomination as European Commissioner. Plumb said she had offered her lender two apartments she owns in Romania.
Rovana Plumb had sent a letter in English shortly before the JURI Committee’s meeting that was to decide her fate should have taken place within a closed session. However according to Liberal MEP Siegfried Muresan, the JURI committee’ session has been suspended at the last minute.
In an exchange of letters between JURI Committee’s chairwoman and the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, the latter confirmed on Friday that the Romanian candidate for the position of Transports Commissioner would be in a conflict of interest situation due to this RON 800,000 loan taken from an individual to be donated for the EP elections campaign.
“I understand the legitimacy of the concerns about the occurrence of a possible conflict of interest, but let me once again express my good faith”, Rovana Plumb begins her letter.
“However, I regret that, in accordance with the understanding of some members of JURI, the Committee concluded that no actual solution to overcome the possible future conflict of interest, the Committee has identified, could be found, and therefore no recommendation could be formulated, thus my unfitness and my inability to exercise the function designated by the President-elect of the European Commission, as well as any other similar function, being definitely and completely established, ” the letter further says.
Plumb argued that she had thought her answers regarding the ways she envisaged to extinguish her debts “were enough to wave the members’ concerns”.
She added that, in order to unblock this situation, she has made some steps to convince the members of the JURI Committee.
“Thus, I have offered to the creditor of the reimbursement (physical person) two apartments I own in Romania, which are already declared in the financial declaration and she accepted as an immediate, full and final payment of my debt. Consequently, the debt which generated your concern does not exist any longer. As soon as possible, until 23 of October 2019 when the Parliament will vote the new Commission, the solutions mentioned above will be put in place”, Plumb said.
According to her wealth statement filed in 2015 to the Chamber of Deputies, Rovana Plumb does own two apartments in Bucharest, a 50-sqm apartment and another one of 80 square metres. She has also another apartment in Dambovita county, of 48sqm and a 670-sqm house in Pantelimon locality.
However, mass media has wondered if the these two apartments offered to repay the loan can cover for the total value of the loan, mounting to RON 800,000.
In a latest move, the National Integrity Agency (ANI) has kicked off an investigation on Rovana Plumb’s wealth after the JURI Committee’s decision, as judiciary sources revealed.
President Iohannis calls PM Dancila for consultations on the Commissioner issue
At the same time, soon after Rovana Plumb has made public her explanations to solve the loan situation, President Klaus Iohannis has invited PM Viorica Dancila for consultations at Cotroceni Palace on this topic.
“President Klaus Iohannis has sent PM Viorica Dancila a letter on September 30 inviting her for consultations at Cotroceni Palace on October 2 on the topic of nomination an European Commissioner on Romania’s behalf. This represents a matter of urgency and it is very important for the Romanian state. You may be accompanied by the relevant ministers at this meeting”, the Presidency announces in a press release.
PM Dancila had reiterated her support for Rovana Plumb
On the other hand, PM Viorica Dancila had reiterated on Saturday the endorsement for Rovana Plumb, saying she still has her unconditional support.
“As for what happened in the past few days, the vote in the European Parliament and especially the reactions at home – I still trust and appreciate Rovana Plumb. She still has my unconditional support,” Dancila posted on her Facebook page.
The Romanian premier says that she has known Rovana Plumb for many years and she knows she would do her jobs “as best as she could.”
“I have known her for many years, we’ve worked together, and I know that she is a professional and I know that she has always done her job in good-faith. I know that she would do this job of an European Commissioner as best as she could and I am certain that for Rovana Plumb, the European interests and policies that contribute to the strengthening of the European projects would always come first, the same as they do for our government. Which is why I hope that the answer of the JURI Committee would be a positive one, according to the proposal made by Romania and supported by the President of the European Commission,” said Viorica Dancila.
According to Dancila, in the past days the opposition parties voiced a stance on this topic that proved “a Romania devastated by hate”.
“All that the members of the opposition parties have done in the past few days was to show to the entire world a disunited Romania, split between the interest of the country and the small, petty interests of some groups. They showed a Romania that is devastated by hate, interests and fights and forgot all about the Romanians (…),” said PM Dancila.
PNL chairman Ludovic Orban has asked PM Viorica Dancila to withdraw Rovana Plumb’s nomination and to talk to President Iohannis in order to designate a different person who shall observe the integrity criteria.
“Dancila and PSD embarrassed us. We are one of the two countries where candidates have not even reached the hearings in the special committee. Rovana Plumb’s candidature must be definitely removed (…) The desperate attempts of the PSD candidate to find a way out of the conflict of interest situation through an overnight loansharking barter has not fooled anyone“, Orban said.
In his turn, the President of the Renew Group in the EP, Dacian Ciolos, has also urged PM Dancila to give up endorsing Rovana Plumb, while asking President Iohannis to have consultations with all parties that have members in the European Parliament in the view of designating a new candidate for EU Commissioner.
“PSD government has lost all its legitimacy to propose a new name for EU Commissioner. Under these circumstances, Romania’s President must involve as a matter of urgency to get Romania out of this obvious deadlock. He has the duty to call all parties that obtained MEP seats and to find together a person able to take the European Transport Commissioner office. Only by summoning Mrs Dancila will not solve a situation that she has handled against the interests of the country,” Ciolos argued.