The President of the Venice Commission stated that the cohabitation is not working that well in Romania, emphasizing that there is the need for a sense of loyalty between state institutions.
Gianni Buquichhio, the President of the Venice Commission, stated on Monday evening that the suspension of the President should be made by a court of law, not by Parliament, and it should have a legal not a political responsibility at its basis. “If a procedure of suspension of the president is desired – which is not necessarily needed, many countries do not have it – then confusion between the President’s legal and political responsibility has to be clearly avoided,” Buquicchio stated, being quoted by Mediafax. He made the statement when answering a question referring to what he believes should be improved in the text of Romania’s future Constitution.
The President of the Venice Commission also considers that the role of the President and the Premier should be clarified in what concerns foreign policy and the participation at the European Council in particular. In his opinion, improvements in what concerns the independence of the judiciary are necessary, although he appreciated that there are also judiciary branches where things are well: “young judges have proven that they are acting independently, and the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) is highly appreciated in Europe.”
At the same time, Gianni Buquicchio considers that the amending of the Constitution should offer a solution in what concerns the collaboration between the Presidency and the Government. In this context, he expressed his satisfaction with the signing of the cohabitation pact between Traian Basescu and Victor Ponta, emphasizing that the President and Premier “proved after the crisis that they can reach a gentlemen’s agreement that may not be working all the time but at least it exists.” Nevertheless, he pointed out that Romania needs “a better political culture, a better sense of loyalty, of respect for and between all state institutions.”
Referring to the intention of the Parliament’s Constitutional Amendment Commission to lower the President’s powers, Buquicchio pointed out that the important thing is not the system but the existence of checks and balances mechanisms: “We do not intervene in such issues. You can have a Presidential, Semi-Presidential or Parliamentary system. It’s the country’s, the people’s sovereign choice.”
Adoption of laws in Parliament should be simplified
The President of the Venice Commission expressed his dissatisfaction with the fact that an emergency ordinance is issued in Romania every three days, “something that does not happen in any other country,” a situation that has to be regulated through a simplification of the way laws are adopted in Parliament. “It’s not only the problem of the current majority, it happened in the past too, when there were 100-130 emergency ordinances per year. This year there have already been 92, it’s already too much.” According to him, the government is resorting to ordinances also because of the Parliamentary procedure that takes too long. “The system is not good, it has to be improved,” Buquicchio pointed out, adding that there are two ways of solving this problem: simplifying the procedure of adopting laws in Parliament and legislative delegation.
Constitutional amendment draft should be sent in January 2014
Gianni Buquicchio pointed out that he is not “dissatisfied” with the fact that the Romanian authorities did not send the latest Constitutional amendment version by the end of September as they had committed themselves to doing following the visit of Venice Commission representatives in July. On the other hand, he warned Romanian authorities that they have to send the final form of the amended Constitution in January 2014 at the latest, in order for the members of the Venice Commission to be able to study and evaluate the document. In fact, Buquicchio expressed his hope that the members of the Romanian parliamentary commission will take into account the recommendations made by the Commission he leads, pointing out that the current amendment answers “a real need that appeared simultaneously with last year’s crisis (the suspension of President Traian Basescu – editor’s note).” Asked if Romania will suffer public relations damage if it fails to respect the recommendations, the official pointed out that international organizations are “careful” to what the Venice Commission says.