Liviu Dragnea, leader of Romania’s ruling Social Democratic Party, told The Associated Press in an interview that after years of politicians getting away with graft, he thinks Romania’s anti-corruption agency has gone too far in pursuing government officials accused of accepting bribes, embezzlement and other official misdeeds.
“There was a period of many years when usually whoever was in power was not investigated,” Dragnea said in the interview, his first with foreign media since the Social Democrats won the 2016 election. “We went to the other extreme, where those who are in the political class all should be accused, followed, investigated, and sent to trial.”
Dragnea told the AP he thinks Romania will slowly find “a correct, legal, constitutional approach” to fighting corruption.
Dragnea says the EU and diplomats have reviewed the laws and concluded they “do not affect the independence of the justice system.”
Dragnea insisted his party is “Europhile,” supportive of the EU concept. At the same time, he said Romania and other eastern European members are “concerned and preoccupied” about a “two-speed” Europe that leaves poorer nations behind while wealthier ones benefit.
Noting that Romania’s eastern border also is the eastern boundary of the EU, he called on NATO to beef up security in the region and consider the Black Sea “a zone of maximum strategic importance.”