The main problems found by the Constitutional judges pertain to the competences regulated and transferred to local authorities and to the legal regime of goods.
The Constitutional Court (CC) ruled that the Law of decentralisation, which the government passed by asking Parliament a vote of confidence last November, is unconstitutional, thus admitting the complaint filed by PDL lawmakers. The verdict was decided with unanimity. On the other hand, CC judges rejected some criticism made by the PDL legislators. The appeal of Democrat-liberals should have been analysed on December 11, but the constitutional judges decided to postpone the discussion, because they received in this case 4,000 pages of documents which they could not consider by that date.
CC sources quoted by Mediafax said that the decentralisation process refers to three matters: competences, goods and money transferred to local authorities. The judges decided that these have been maintained, in some cases, at both central and local level, leading to a superimposing of competences, while in other situations the measures rather generated a centralisation. In the case of goods, it has been noticed that they do not have a clear legal status, as the law regulates the transfer of goods from the public property of the state to the public property of local authorities, respectively from the private property of the state to the private property of local authorities. On the other hand, the provisions of the law are not correlated with those from the annexes pertaining to the description of the goods that make the object of decentralisation. “In the case of goods, of property, it is unclear which of those annexes are goods in public property. (…) The annex does not mention which goods are public property and which are private. In the case of public property, it is unclear if they are public under the law or under a different procedure. Plus, the goods are only individualised by number of inventory, which does attests neither whom they belong to, nor their legal status. The right of property is demonstrated by inscribing them in the land ledger,” the sources explained. Judges also noticed that the only case referred to by the land ledger data of buildings is that of beaches.
I am waiting for the motivation, Dragnea says
Deputy Premier Liviu Dragnea declared himself surprised by the fact that the Law of decentralisation was declared unconstitutional, but said that he is waiting to see how CC motivated its decision. “Of course I am surprised. If it is declared unconstitutional in its totality, one might practically understand that Romania no longer is allowed to conduct a decentralisation, as it happens in Europe. But I would however want to see the motivation of the Court and then I will react more in the know,” Dragnea said.
PDL wants the resignation of the government
PDL vice-president Raluca Turcan said that the government must resign after the CC decision on the unconstitutionality of the Law of decentralisation, as the Executive passed the act by taking responsibility in Parliament. “Today (Friday) the government receives a vote of censure from an institution that monitors the observance of the Constitution,” Turcan stated. She added that PDL challenged at the CC the Law of decentralisation based on article 1 about the unity of the Romanian state and given the present form of the Constitution, which prevents a decentralisation. The first vice-president of PDL Catalin Predoiu in his turn mentioned that the decision of the CC represents “a political victory of PDL” and “good news for Romanians.” He demanded the resignation of the government and asked USL to make a national pact on decentralisation.
On the other hand, PNL spokeswoman Cristina Pocora said that deputy PM Liviu Dragnea must operate the due modifications to the decentralisation Law, following the decision of the CC, and present the new form of the law to USL. In his turn, the mayor of Sfantu Gheorghe, Antal Arpad (UDMR) considers that, if political will exists, the decentralisation can be enforced this year and the government can modify the law taking into consideration the verdict of the CC.