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President Traian Basescu deemed the latest CVM report ‘correct’ and slammed the political reactions that he called ‘dishonest’. Basescu lashed out at the press trusts, calling for new rules for journalists, as to avoid ‘media lynching’. Last weekend, Premier Victor Ponta said he will keep Liviu Dragnea and Relu Fenechiu in his cabinet. Ponta is expected to talk to Barroso on the report today in Brussels.
President Traian Basescu slammed in a press conference at Cotroceni palace, the domestic public debate stirred by the latest Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) released by the European Commission last week. He said that the findings of the report have been criticized many times in a dishonest way and ‘deeply politicized’.“Romanians can be misled by the TV channels, but the Westerners watch TV only when they are monitoring us. They are looking at the facts, at government’s actions, as well as Parliament’s, President’s and other’s institutions. Who ever is naïve enough to believe that by means of propaganda we will fool the European Commission or the member states is against the national interest’, he said. Basescu noted that he was expressing the official position of Romania on the CVM report which, in his opinion, was a fair one, based on the deeds, developments and political action of Romanian officials. ‘What we need to do is take into consideration the views expressed in the report and act to remove what is deemed negative, for one reason: not because we are being required to do that by the EC, but because those are the EU standards we committed to, said the president. Basescu says he has noticed in the public debate the fact that there is ‘an education issue’ regarding the knowledge of EU standards.
Basescu warns that, when analysing the CVM, one should consider the fact that it includes previous reports by the Venice Commission as well as OSCE. ‘No matter how hard one may try – unfairly, true enough – to demonstrate that the report has been prepared under the counter, with Romanian influences, will realise–that’s simply childish and any EU official will just launch at such an approach.’ In the context, he warned politicians that the report should be taken very seriously. ‘The EC is telling us we should come back to our senses in what concerns our political approach’, the president further noted.On the other hand, the president emphasised the fact that the report did take a positive approach to the institutions under monitoring, appreciating the progress made by the Superior Magistracy Council (CSM), High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) and National Integrity Agency (ANI). At the same time, Basescu pointed out that the report kept a positive opinion on the performance of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) and Office of the Prosecutor General. In the president’s opinion, the progress the report makes reference to confirms the fact that Romania is ready for Schengen. ‘In March, I will advocate without reserves our accession to the Schengen space’. ‘The negative part of the report – it’s apparently a contradiction to hail the work of all those institutions and on the other hand question the operation of the rule of law, but the reality of last summer cannot be overlooked (a hint at the dismissal of the speakers of both Chambers of Parliament and the suspension of the president – a/n). The same applies to the denial/debating of final court rulings.’ Among other things, Basescu referred to the cases of former Ministers Laszlo Borbely, Victor Paul Dobre and Mircea Diaconu, as well as ex-PSD Senator Ion Stan. ‘The EC wants to know why the Parliament did not approve the arrest of Mr. Stan. Why the Parliament denied the requests for the prosecution of Ministers Borbely and Dobre. Why (…) it opposed the definitive decision finding Mr. Diaconu’s situation of incompatibility’ Basescu said. On a distinct note, the president says the CVM report does not require a press law to be adopted, as it has been suggested lately in the public space, but stresses the need to safeguard the freedom of the mass-media. The National Audiovisual Council (CNA) is also asked to introduce ‘sanctions and reparations for those who are unfairly attacked, lynched and discredited’. The president did not miss the opportunity to attack the various media trusts, saying that ‘the Intact trust was controlled by a person with a difficult judicial situation’, ‘a potential offender’ (hint at Dan Voiculescu – a/n) and ‘RTV is controlled by a PSD senator (businessman Sebastian Ghita – a/n). ‘This report does not say the state uses the media. It is media owners who use their stations in their interest’, he pointed out. Asked about the keeping in the Government of ministers with legal issues (Varujan Vosganian, Relu Fenechiu and Liviu Dragnea – a/n.), the head of state refused to comment on the subject, saying that it was ‘the problem of the prime minister’ to find a solution in that situation. ‘If I had had a legal way of preventing those appointments, I would have done it. But I did not’, Basescu said. On the other hand, he said he would make a decision tomorrow on whether he would promulgate the amendments to the Statue of Parliamentarians or return it to Parliament/refer it to the Constitutional Court. Traian Basescu said he would meet with PM Victor Ponta most likely tomorrow.
‘Closing CVM should be a priority’, Antonescu says
PM Victor Ponta said on Friday he would not drop the ministers the EC’s CVM Justice report referred (without mentioning their names) to in the absence of a final court judgement against those. ‘No, not a chance (to let them go -a/n), because this report erroneously speaks of corruption offences. None of those people has been accused of corruption’, realitatea.net quotes Ponta as having said. On the other hand, Senate Speaker Crin Antonescu says closing CVM should be a priority to Parliament, Government, Presidency and other state institutions, noting, however, that he did not have in mind suspending relations with the EC in the area of justice. In his opinion, the CVM harms Romania. He gave as an example the fact that the mechanism was used as an argument in decisions being made on Romania’s entry to Schengen. In fact, Antonescu reminded that, under the initial agreement, the CVM should have lasted only until 2010. ‘Under these conditions, while having been extended, the Mechanism is caducous, said the PNL leader, quoted by Mediafax. Antonescu also added that Bucharest authorities were very interested to know how long the monitoring in the framework of the CVM would last.