The Guardian: Viorica Dăncilă must prove she is not just a proxy for the former PSD leader

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Sitting in a plush meeting room in the main government building in Bucharest, Viorica Dăncilă, the Romanian prime minister, is blunt about the beating her party took (in EP election – our note). “I consider these elections not as a victory of the opposition parties but as a defeat for the PSD,” she said. However, she believes her party can turn things around, theguardian.com reads.

In an interview for the British newspaper, PM Dancila has pointed to the main issues she wants to approach.

In the aftermath of the May votes, Dăncilă vowed to abandon the controversial judicial proposals, a pledge she reiterated this week. “We have understood the message from 26 May. We have not spoken about the justice system, we have not let anybody get involved on that topic … I would like to go back to the agenda that is focused on the citizen, less on the justice system,” she said for The Guardian.

The paper underlines the problems Romania is facing and the issues of concern for the Prime Minister:

  • the fight against corruption and changes to the judiciary in Romania have dominated political discourse in recent years;
  • Laura Codruţa Kövesi, the former head of Romania’s anti-corruption agency, is running for the position of head of the new European public prosecutor’s office, but she is strongly opposed by her own government but favoured by the European Parliament; Dăncilă said that she personally believed Kövesi must “solve her issues with the justice system” before taking this kind of role. “What do we do if those accusations are real? I don’t know if they are real or not, it’s a hypothesis, but I believe that the Romanian image will be affected and I want my country’s image to be very good,” she added.
  • Viorica Dancila was accused that she was appointed simply to serve as a proxy for Liviu Dragnea. Dăncilă pushed back against this perception. “These accusations came mostly from the opposition,” she said, adding: “The prime minister runs the government … Mr. Dragnea wasn’t coming here to the government, or providing indications to the government.”
  • Dăncilă points to strong economic growth and says her government is focusing on areas such as education, health and infrastructure;
  • Improving relations with Brussels will be another priority. She pointed to the ongoing judicial monitoring of Romanian and Bulgaria (Cooperation and Verification Mechanism – CVM, our note).

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