Update: Parliament releases official response to the US Department of State warning: Debates, decisions and votes in Parliament cannot be object of any pressure


Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

The Chamber Speaker, Liviu Dragnea and Senate Speaker, Calin Popescu Tariceanu have released a joint statement on Tuesday as a reply to the Department of State message, saying that the Romanian Parliament has been unpleasantly surprised by their message and that debates, decisions and votes in the Parliament take place in the name of the sovereignty of the people and cannot be object of any pressure.

Romania’s Parliament has been unpleasantly surprised by the release issued by the US Department of State on November 27, 2017 regarding the justice reform. We want to underline that in any discussion with our partners we must consider the fundamental constitutional principle, the same in the USA as in Romania, that debates, decisions and votes in Parliament take place in the name of the people’s sovereignty and cannot be object of any type of pressure. The United States of America must trust Romania’s Parliament, which seeks to consolidate the independence of the judiciary system and to remove political influences in the justice process,” says the joint press release by the speakers of the two chambers of the Parliament.

Liviu Dragnea and Calin Popescu Tariceanu argue that the USA must have confidence in the Parliament that legislates in Bucharest, as it is the same body that adopted the Declaration on the US-Romania Strategic Partnership, the 2 pc allotment for defense, which Okayed the participation of the Romanian armed forces in the theatres of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and within the anti-ISIS/DAESH coalition next to the US and other allies and which adopted the laws on the Patriot missile system purchase.

We voice hope that the statement by the US Department of State has been made in good faith, but we cannot avoid noticing that it doesn’t seem to be the result of a balanced, unbiased and far-reaching analysis of the facts and it is rather an echo of some opinions rumored in the Romanian public space,” the statement also reads.

The nature and the form of the Department of State’s statement are unreasonable considering that it’s hard to imagine that breaches of the citizen rights and freedom that we frequently see in Romania could ever take place in the United States. It’s hard to believe that in the USA a prosecutor would dare come before the courtroom to present rigged evidence or to blackmail the judge that he will open a case against him if he is not taking a decision in his favor. It’s hard to believe that in a consolidated democracy, like the one in the US, there are partnership protocols between magistrates and the intelligence services. It’s probably impossible in the American justice system that the representatives of the intelligence services should expand their tactical activities up to the courtroom and to provide magistrates with judicial opinions and to expect magistrates to take decisions following their suggested opinions.

It’s also unbelievable in the USA that a top ranking public official should refuse to come to be heard in a parliamentary inquiry committee, thus breaking clear rulings by the Constitutional Court. Last, but not least, it’s hard to imagine that in the USA a magistrate who is flagrantly breaking the human fundamental rights is not held responsible under the law,” the speakers of the Chamber of Deputies and Senate conclude.

The Romanian Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu had met the ruling Social Democrat Party’s representatives and FM Teodor Melescanu on Tuesday morning to discuss about the recent message on the justice law amendments released by the US Department of State.

FM Melescanu stated after the meeting that the Parliament “will have a public statement” regarding the US Department of State release.

We haven’t got the statement yet. I had a discussion with the Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu (…) There will be a public statement by the Parliament,” Melescanu told the journalists.

PSD deputy secretary general, Codrin Stefanescu, also had a meeting with Tariceanu on Tuesday morning in his office at the Senate.

JusMin: The Department of State can voice an opinion in the way it can and it is allowed

Justice Minister Tudorel Toader, leading the ministry that submitted the amendments on the justice laws, also retorted on this topic, saying the Department of State can voice an opinion in the way it can and it is allowed, but nobody can take the Parliament’s right to legislate.

The Department of State expresses its opinion in the way it can and it is allowed. I have read the release and I find two opinion directions: the first part, when it voices its concern on the legislation that might undermine the fight against corruption and might weaken the independence, refers to the package of laws which is under parliamentary procedure. We can voice some concerns, but definitely the Parliament cannot be prevented from legislating for this is the exclusive authority enshrined in the Constitution,” Toader said.

Justice minister also claims that the members of the special committee established to discuss the justice law amendments will consider adopting some equitable regulation.

Ambassador Klemm takes new stand: The Department of State message should be no surprise

While visiting Drobeta Turnu Severin on Tuesday, US ambassador in Bucharest Hans Klemm said that the Department of State release announced yesterday should be no surprise.

On August 29, my embassy released a statement regarding the proposals on the justice reform, expressing concern with these proposals. It didn’t say <Ambassador Klemm or the US Embassy are concerned>, but the United States are concerned with the rule of law and the justice law proposals. So what happened yesterday was again the expression of concern expressed by the USA regarding the package of justice laws that could reverse the amazing progress that Romania has made in the past 15-20 years. You’ve created an independent judiciary and you’ve strengthened the rule of law and the anti-corruption fight,” ambassador Klemm stated.

Reactions: pros and cons. PNL divided

The members of the ruling coalition and the institutions close to the power criticized the message released by the Department of State, while the opposition hailed it.

Leader of the PSD senators, Serban Nicolae, said that the release is “bizarre, useless and incoherent”, adding the “insulting tone should stir reactions”, while the chairman of the special committee in charge of amending the justice laws, ex-Justice minister Florin Iordache said the proposals are not affecting the independence of the judiciary system.

MEP Norica Nicolai, from ALDE, stated that Romania should go on with the legislative procedure and she called on FM Melescanu to ask the Department of State for explanation regarding “the politically flavored press statement”.

A member of the National Union of the Judges in Romania (UNJR) wrote in a Facebook post that the debate on the justice laws in the special committee is transparent, while naming the US Department of State release as “inarticulate” and their position as totally “inadequate and non compliant with the reality.”

On the other side, the opposition parties welcomed the Department of State release.

The spokesperson of the National Liberal Party, Catalin Danca said the release by the Department of State is “unprecedented and serious” and that the strategic partners’ “imperative request” is to the Romanians’ advantage, so that “PSD-ALDE should drop their move to subordinate the judiciary for personal purposes.”

However, former minister of Justice, also a Liberal, Catalin Predoiu voiced a different opinion, saying that the USA should address Romania in another tone.

I have supported and I still do the justice independence and the strategic partnership with the USA. The fight with PSD for the justice independence is not easy and any support is welcomed. But I cannot accept the tone that the Department of State is addressing Romania (…) I am not sure if this move is very inspired from the tactical point of view, as it might fuel an anti-American and nationalist current and might be manipulated by Russia. Maybe the American diplomats should pay more attention to the way they approach Romania, more adapted to the realities in the field, in order to be efficient,” Predoiu pointed out.

However, soon after Predoiu’s stance, Liberal chairman Ludovic Orban said that the National Liberal Party hails the statement made by the US Department of State and that he is the one to voice the official stance of the party and not deputy Catalin Predoiu. Orban said Predoiu had expressed a personal point of view in this matter.

USR asked for the resignation of Tariceanu and Dragnea from the helm of the two chambers of the Parliament. “If Dragnea and Tariceanu continue the war against the judiciary they will be totally responsible if Romania is isolated abroad and if the partnership with EU and NATO is abandoned,” USR leader Dan Barna said.

In his turn, Eugen Tomac, the executive chair of the PMP (the party of ex-president Traian Basescu), opined that the Department of State message is a warning that should be considered, even if the approach “was not the best”, and was conveyed “in a less diplomatic manner”.

- Advertisement -

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More