President Klaus Iohannis has summoned the parliamentary parties to consultations Wednesday afternoon, on the issues of legislation in the field of justice.
The Social-Democratic Party (PSD) decided Wednesday morning to attend the talks at Cotroceni Palace.
“I wish that these consultations would have me as mediator between the parliamentary political parties. I don’t want a pact with PSD, with ALDE or any other party. I wish they get along, resume talks on the laws of justice to reach a much improved form, so that in the end we would have laws to support the justice system in Romania. I believe a deal could be reached,” President Iohannis said before meeting the parties.
“It is clear that my objective is to improve the laws and to guarantee the judiciary independence. The legislative process should be resumed, responsible enactment is needed, transparent, to lead to actual modernization,” he added.
“We have the final opinion from the Venice Commission. The recommendations should be taken seriously. They are meant to help us, to help Romania,” the head of state said.
Iohannis stressed the justice system has to be independent and stable, and “consensus is needed in Parliament, not with me. Otherwise, these laws would be constantly amended, will generate instability and the system would fail to function optimum. As you’ve seen, after being promulgated, the Government issued emergency ordinances to amend them, ordinances very questionable from the constitutional point of view,” he said.
PSD chairman Dragnea denies resuming of the legislative process
Chairman of the ruling Social Democrat Party Liviu Dragnea has stated after the consultations with President Iohannis at Cotroceni Palace on the justice laws that he had addressed seven questions to the head of state, besides the 10 topics on the rule of law. On top of all, the SocDem leader denied the idea of resuming the legislative process on the justice laws.
Dragnea wrote the list with the ten principles, but refused to say which are the seven questions he addressed to Iohannis.
“It has been a relatively just discussion where the President told us his stance, meaning that the legislative process must be resumed. It’s no need to, in our view, for there is already the GEO 92, which is in parliamentary procedure and which encompasses the Venice Commission recommendations. We have never rejected a debate on the judiciary system in Romania. On the contrary, it has been an assumed goal, for we have decided since 2016 not to make the mistake to not see what’s happening in Romania, to pretend we don’t see the abuses in the judiciary system in Romania. We cannot pretend the secret, toxic protocols don’t exist,” Dragnea stated.
“We cannot commit to any serious discussion unless we have some answers to some important questions, unless we acknowledge what’s going on with the effects of the abuses. We have not come to take any commitment before the President. We let him ten principles and a set of 7 questions to which he would be better provide an answer,” the PSD char added.
He pointed out that not all the Venice Commission’s recommendations will be taken over, exemplifying with the special section to investigate magistrates.
As for the issue of the magistrates’ early retirement, Dragnea said it has been a recommendation made by the Superior Council of Magistracy and “it remains to be seen if CSM’s opinion will be taken into account more than the Venice Commission’s”.
ALDE’s Tariceanu: We need a consensus, but we must start from the same premises
ALDE chairman Calin Popescu Tariceanu has stated after the consultations that a consensus is needed on the justice laws, but common premises are also needed, such as that halt of the abuses commited through secret protocols (editor note: between the judiciary bodies and secret services).
„First of all, we have to agree on what the rule of law means. If we have different stances, no consensus will be reached. In our view, the rule of law means to respect the liberties of people. The state must not be repressive, it must defend its citizens from abuses. I see the Venice Commission doesn’t say a word. Let’s start with the need of bringing to light all secret protocols in the judiciary system, they must be abolished,” Tariceanu said.
ALDE chairman also reminded of the need of setting up a Committee of Truth.