Manfred Weber, the leader of the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament has voiced his concern about situation in Romania, stating that the Government in Bucharest is reporting setback in countering corruption and asking PM Viorica Dancila, whom he had met in Brussels, to provide explanations in the EP.
„Yesterday I met Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă. I told her we are very worried about the political situation in her country. The government is going backwards in the fight against corruption and the independence of the judiciary. I believe the Romanian Prime Minister should come to the European Parliament to explain the situation. What do you think? We will not bargain over the rule of law,” reads a post by Weber on his Facebook page.
Weber pointed out that Romania is going backwards in countering corruption, while the independence of judiciary is under pressure. He argued that citizens had been beaten by the Police in Bucharest this summer; “frankly this is not acceptable”, he said, adding that fighting corruption is no luxury, it is an absolute need to protect citizens and companies from the state’s abuses. Weber said the EU officials are urgently asking the Romanian Government to change course and underlined that the EU is on the European citizens’ side and they will never negotiate the rule of law.
In a different statement, the speaker of the Romanian Senate and ALDE chairman, Calin Popescu Tariceanu has accused Manfred Weber of hypocrisy, saying that three months ago Weber went to Budapest and endorsed Hungarian PM Viktor Orban and now he proposed activation of article 7 of the EU treaty against Hungary, because he is supported to take over the European Commission presidency.
“It’s regrettable that we have people who are hurting Romania very much, promoting and spreading fake news. I saw Mr. Weber’s statement, a statement that I can say was not spontaneous , but rather it was read off a prompter. Someone, who does not know the situation in Romania, prepared it for him. He was just reading a statement, with some phrases that I have been hearing, spread by some and that have no real basis about the situation in Romania,” Tariceanu told private TV broadcaster Antena 3.
Tariceanu also stated that the issue of sanctioning Romania by triggering Article 7 of the EU Treaty is out of the question.