President Klaus Iohannis said in a press conference on Wednesday, the first public outing of the head of state after the release of the GRECO reports, that the PSD-ALDE Government had received a new “red card” , this time from GRECO.
“The conclusions of the reports show one more time the multiple prejudice brought by PSD-ALDE by amending the justice laws. Public consultations and transparency are still ignored. The constancy is the adoption of emergency ordinances, GRECO determined. The actions of the Romanian authorities are in total contradiction with the recommendations of the European body,” said President Iohannis.
He stated that the procedure of appointing high ranking prosecutors is still subjective.
“If PSD-ALDE Government dares ignore the will of its own citizens, it’s no wonder that only 4 out of 13 recommendations have been enforced satisfactorily. While all European bodies warn that the so–called justice reform is heading to a wrong direction, PSD-ALDE ignore these warnings while heading to the direction they want”, the head of state pointed out, adding that “PSD-ALDE ruling majority is the one that is contributing to the perpetuation of the harmful effects of these amendments.”
The GRECO reports revealed on Tuesday urge the authorities in Bucharest to disband special section for investigating magistrates, while warning over insufficient progress in fighting corruption.
Iohannis has also slammed PM Viorica Dancila. “The prime minister is ignoring that the Government can draft a legislative act. Through her passivity, the ruling coalition is still acting against the Romanians’ will and interests,” the Romanian president argued.
“I urge the Government to expeditiously draft a bill in compliance with the popular will and with GRECO recommendations, and CSM must join this undertaking, by assuming the role of guarantor of the justice independence”, Klaus Iohannis underlined.
The President also urged OSD to “buck up” and amend the justice laws regarding the special section for investigating magistrates. “Everybody understood that this section is an anomaly. Of course, the decision belongs to the Parliament, but the initiative must come from the Government”.
On the referendum to amend the Constitution
The head of state reiterated the call to organise a referendum to amend the Constitution, and opined it should be held at the same time with the presidential election, set on November 10.
“It is good to be held together with the first round or the second of the presidential election. There is no recommendation by the Venice Commission to avoid the overlap of elections. The exact same politicians who are angry about GRECO use this argument with the Venice Commission. This is a sad example of their duplicity”, Iohannis said.
PSD says no to Iohannis: No law amending unless consensus between magistrates is reached
In retort, PSD has said justice laws would not be amended until an unanimous consensus of magistrates is reached, claiming that GRECO follow-up report is referring to the ad-hoc assessment from March, with no connection with the May 26 referendum on justice.
“GRECO follow-up report is referring to the ad-hoc assessment from March, so it has nothing to do with the referendum of May 26, as president Iohannis is falsely claiming. The GRECO report contains conclusions and recommendation that have prompted and still prompt heated disputes inside the Romanian judiciary system. Magistrates themselves are slamming the Report, denouncing major errors, while some GRECO conclusions are opposite to the Constitutional Court’s provisions“, says PSD.
The ruling party points out that it will not debate any amendments of the justice laws and will not get involved in such controversies unless a general consensus among magistrates is reached, adding it has taken the Netherlands’ model. “It is the similar stance with the one taken by the Netherlands, which told GRECO in an official response that <it can enforce recommendations only with a wide support of the judges and prosecutors, who have not reached any consensus so far>”.