President Iohannis asks Parliament to end repeated law amendment procedures

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President Klaus Iohannis addressed the joint session of the Parliament on Wednesday, for the third time since the beginning of his term, telling ministers and lawmakers that one of the main problems Romania is facing is that laws are being amended tens times overnight, exemplifying laws such as the old Tax Code, the Education Law or the one on the health reform.

“For me, a strong Parliament also means a right placement to judiciary. The respect for law cannot be dissociated from the relation with the judiciary. I informed you every time I considered there were sideslips on this matter, not because I wanted to interfere with the Parliament’s activity, but precisely because the way this institution is answering the justice’s requests can affect its credibility,” Iohannis stated.

The President also reminded that he would like that corruption should not rank first on the public opinions agenda at the end of his term.

“A strong Romania is not only a Romania without corruption, but also a Romania where the respect for law has been reclaimed,” Iohannis argued.

Warning over some problems related to the legislation’s coherence, the Romanian head of state pointed out that the old Tax Code has been revised thirteen times only this year, just like other laws have been amended twice or three times on the same month, such as the Education law, the law on the health reform or the Labour Code.

“I paid a special attention to the laws that came for promulgation. In 2015, the old Tax Code has been amended 13 times (…) I saw a study where 80 percent of the Romanians are complaining about the fact the laws are laborious (…) At present there are almost 14,000 active laws or drafts, with half of them being drafts passing or vetoing simple or emergency ordinances. This proportion is a good indicator of the way the relation between the legislative and executive powers is looking like. The Education law has been amended 26 times, the one on health 114 times, the local public administration law- 38 times, the Labour Code- 28 times, while the law on public procurement -35 times. They are just few examples. These are not just mere statistics. Behind those figures there are people who elected us to represent them, the pupils who don’t know what are their schoolbooks and what exams are going to take, the patients, the doctors and the entrepreneurs who want to invest but don’t know what taxes to pay and how many (…) People want simpler laws that shouldn’t be amended overnight,” Klaus Iohannis said.

He showed that the big public systems- the education and the health- have suffered the most due to these changes. “I believe the lawmaking procedure, but mostly the way laws are revised are the main deep source of these systems’ inefficiency. The immediate consequence of this fact was not only the erosion of the Parliament confidence, but more seriously, the erosion of the law trustworthiness generally speaking,” the President commented.

Iohannis also said that it’s useless to look for the guilty ones for this situation.

“Many legislatures and governments have alternated, these practices have perpetuated in time. What we can do today is to be responsible and to act accordingly, each of us within our own attributions and competences (…) Let’s start all over again. This could be the zero moment where the law becoming credible again should start from (…) The Parliament can and should be in the heart of this action of simplifying the legislation and to make it more coherent, more stable and predictable,” Iohannis told the MPs.

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