ALDE Party President Van Baalen hopeful planned changes to justice package strengthen rule of law

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President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE) Hans van Baalen voiced hope that all the upcoming changes to the justice package will strengthen the rule of law, stressing that they must comply with European legislation and the rulings of the Constitutional Court of Romania.

“I spoke to both ruling and opposition parties, NGOs and media, to assess the state of play in the country, because as EU members we are of course looking at what happens in several member states. It was a good visit. We discussed rule of law, judicial reform, the secret protocols between intelligence services, the National Anticorruption Directorate and other services that don’t exist in my country. I come from the Netherlands. There are no secret protocols in my country. (…) We discussed the referendum to redefine the family. I hope politicians in the opposition and at rule work together. In my country, if we have an important subject, we seek a broad majority. This is always the best way to proceed”, Hans van Baalen said on Friday at the Parliament House after a meeting with MPs of the ALDE – PSD ruling coalition.

Asked about the timeliness of changing justice laws and if the changes envisaged by the power could adversely impact the rule of law, the President of the ALDE Party said: I am a lawyer. After 20 years reform is necessary and it should be best for it to comply with the European legislation and the decisions of the Constitutional Court of Romania (…) We will look at the parliamentary procedure because we want a strong Romania and a strong EU. (…) I hope all the changes reinforce the rule of law. Let us first see what happens in Parliament and I’ll probably be back to talk to all the parties involved.

He also voiced concern at the secret protocols.

“I am concerned about the secret protocols, and let us also look at the comments Mr. Timmermans and the European Council have made on these protocols. This is bad and I hope it changes. It’s important that we strengthen the magistrates’ [independence].(…) Regrettably this was just a short visit, but we’ll be back”, Hans van Baalen said.

From May 17 to 18, a delegation of ALDE Europe MEPs visited Romania. The delegation was led by the ALDE Europe President Hans van Baalen, and it included ALDE Europe MEPs: Ilhan Kyuchyuk, who is the ALDE Europe Vice President, and Fredrick Federley. The purpose of the visit to Bucharest of the ALDE MEPs was to discuss with the ruling parties, the opposition parties, NGOs and media, in order to assess the situation in Romania. The delegation also met President Klaus Iohannis.

 

 Tariceanu, after the talk with the ALDE Europe leader: He asked: “have you lost your compass?” About the European Commission: “How can they explain that they had CVM for 10 years and a huge gangrene has grown?”

 

ALDE President Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated for MEDIAFAX that the ALDE Europe leader Hans van Baalen, who visited Romania, asked what is going on in the country, after he was informed about the protocols concluded, and he asked him if he talked with Frans Timmermans.

“The ALDE President was obviously very affected by these things. These protocols added to the law and overlapped and short-circuited the Parliament. (…) Hans van Baalen asked me: ‘Have you talked with Timmermans (e.n.: European Commission’s First Vice President)?’ I said ‘yes’, but how can they explain that they had the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) for ten years, and all this time a huge gangrene has grown? They are on the back foot. They have two options, and both of them are bad: either they will admit that they didn’t do their job, or they will tell they didn’t see, and this means they closed their eyes. Van Baalen said: ‘What’s going on here? Have you lost your compass?’” the Senate’s Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated.

The head of the Senate also spoke about the SIPA Archives and their implications.

“We talked about the referendum based on the signatures of the Coalition for the Family, given that we support unequivocally the individual rights and freedoms, and it was a good opportunity to provide them with correct and complete information on what happened in the recent years in Romania, on slippages, abuses and excesses that led to the violation of the citizens’ rights. I underlined this illegal modality of functioning of the repressive state institutions, of the secrete services and prosecutor’s offices, protocols that were revealed, the provisions of the protocols and the fact that most probable the excerpts from the SIPA Archives and the connection with the magistrates were used as blackmail and control instruments, in order to make some of those working in magistracy be still” Calin Popescu Tariceanu said.

 

President Iohannis tells Hans van Baalen Romania will continue to have functional rule of law

 

President Klaus Iohannis welcomed on Friday, at Cotroceni Presidential Palace (photo), a delegation from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), led by the alliance’s Chairman Hans van Baalen, on which occasion the head of state reiterated his conviction that Romania will continue to have a functional rule of law.

According to a press release issued by the Presidential Administration for AGERPRES, the agenda of the meeting features the steps of the Romanian parliamentary majority to amend the laws of Justice, the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, the recent discussions on the introduction of a threshold for abuse of office, the modification of the legal framework on the organization and functioning of associations and foundations, as well as European topics of common interest.

“President Klaus Iohannis reiterated, also on this occasion, the deep conviction that Romania will continue to have a functioning rule of law, a guarantee in this sense being the citizens’ wish to move forward and not to take steps backwards,” the release reads.

At the same time, the head of state underlined that “our country is and will remain deeply anchored in European values”.