Polemics on the modifications of the Criminal Codes

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Dragnea: Adopting amendments to the Criminal Codes via emergency ordinance, pertinent

 

Social Democratic Party (PSD) leader Liviu Dragnea mulls adopting the amendments to the Criminal Codes via emergency ordinance, labelling this option as “pertinent,” considering that, according to him, the Opposition and President Klaus Iohannis are always blocking the laws in Parliament by challenging them at the Constitutional Court. He stated that such an overture “makes a lot of sense,” and that he will talk with Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu, Premier Viorica Dancila, and Justice Minister Tudorel Toader.

Asked why PSD does not consider modifying the Codes the same way Monica Macovei did when she was Justice Minister, namely via Government Emergency Ordinance, Dragnea said that this is a “pertinent” option.

“You are referring to the Codes approved via emergency ordinances. It’s very pertinent, we will think about it, honestly. It’s worth considering, because just today I was thinking… everything we approved in Parliament, everything important that we approved, we’re talking about the laws that support and are part of the governing programme, laws that concern the judiciary and other laws that are wanted and which we are adopting, they kept delaying them. Iohannis, PNL or USR challenge [them]. It comes [back] from the Court, they challenge again, the Court rejects, it ends up at Iohannis, he challenges again, even though he knows he cannot do it anymore, but he challenges to play for time and then he will probably return them to Parliament, saying ‘I want this article this way, not the other way around,’” Liviu Dragnea stated on Sunday evening for Antena3.

He claimed that this is also why the public procurements law and the law on public-private partnerships were adopted via emergency ordinances.

“This is why two fundamental laws, the public procurements law, which transforms years into months – the years in which we were all sitting dumbstruck because we were unable to make any investment –, and the law on public-private partnership, we adopted them via emergency ordinances. We approved, by law, the Sovereign Fund for Development and Investments. PNL and USR are challenging [it] at the Constitutional Court. They have no reason, only to delay it, and what you are saying makes a lot of sense, and we’ll talk this week; I’ll talk with Mr Tariceanu and the Prime Minister, and Mr Toader, to have a focused discussion, because it’s clear, they will challenge the Criminal Codes, there will be the parliamentary recess. We will hold an extraordinary sitting, but we will hold it and they challenge, and we will seriously think, a possible timetable on the table,” Dragnea said.

The bill that amends the Criminal Procedure Code was set to be put up for vote during the Senate’s plenary meeting on Monday, as the first Chamber notified. Subsequently, according to the parliamentary procedure, the bill will enter the special committee on judicial laws and then the plenum of the House, the decisive body for this bill.

The committee on judicial laws has issued a favourable report on the modifications brought to the Criminal Procedure Code. The report was adopted with 15 votes in favour and 3 votes against.

“The Criminal Procedure Code aims to transpose the EU directive on the presumption of innocence, and the one on extended confiscation. This Code also includes the changes that aim to harmonise the Constitutional Court decisions and the ECHR decision. Likewise, they are set in line, and the most important is the one concerning the elimination of the preliminary chamber, in order to shorten the judiciary procedure. On Monday the report already enters the Senate to be adopted and for Romania to no longer pay the potential penalties for failure to implement the EU directive on the presumption of innocence. The directives are included here. In two weeks it will leave Parliament,” House lawmaker Florin Iordache (PSD) stated for Mediafax.

 

Calin Popescu Tariceanu on issuance of OUG on Criminal Codes: We have this solution too

 

Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated on Monday that an emergency ordinance amending the Criminal Codes could be issued if the parliamentary majority notices “there is manifest ill will,” blaming the levers used by the Opposition against the judicial laws.

Asked whether a Government Emergency Ordinance (OUG) would be advisable, Tariceanu said: “Anything is possible. If we notice there is manifest ill will in this regard on the part of the Opposition too – because the Opposition too, as we saw in the case of the judicial reform laws, has excessively used a series of levers in order to postpone and possibly impede their coming into force –, of course there is also this solution, which has been used by the previous Government too, as you know, the one led by Mr Ciolos; it wouldn’t be an absolute novelty and even if some are bothered by such a solution, they must know that we have legal instruments at our disposal, instruments that, of course, we can use in extreme situations. As you can see, we preferred the path of parliamentary debate, but if the parliamentary debate is hampered, then of course, we will have to think about other solutions too.”

The leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) pointed out that this solution has not been discussed within the coalition. When a journalist pointed out that OUG no.13 prompted a lot of people to take to the streets, Tariceanu replied: “And the 2015 ordinance didn’t. Participation in the street is probably selective.”

 

Ludovic Orban: Modifying Criminal Codes through emergency ordinance would be an abuse

 

The potential modification of the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code through an emergency ordinance would be absurd, National Liberal Party (PNL) leader Ludovic Orban stated on Monday for RFI. He said that in case this abuse takes place, PNL would notify the Ombudsman, even though, so far, Victor Ciorbea “has refused to exercise his prerogatives” in what regards the triggering of constitutionality audits on almost all emergency ordinances he was notified about.

“We too dare to have amendments, usually amendments demanded by professional associations from the judiciary, or amendments that we thought up, and through the endorsement of amendments Dragnea understands the delaying of debates. It’s absurd for the amendments to the Criminal Code to be adopted via emergency ordinance. There are absolutely no grounds for adopting them via OUG [Government Emergency Ordinance],” Ludovic Orban said.

He says that PNL could notify the Ombudsman if the Executive adopts an emergency ordinance to modify the Codes.

“Sure, we will notify the Ombudsman in case they commit this abuse, it’s an abusive form of adopting modifications to laws as important as the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code. On the other hand, we don’t know to what extent Victor Ciorbea still has any connection with this people and with exercising the office of Ombudsman, since he has refused so far to exercise his prerogatives in what concerns the triggering of the constitutionality audit on almost all emergency ordinances we notified him about,” Orban added.

 

 PNL leader: We don’t support the Administrative Code and the Criminal Procedure Code. We have lots of arguments against these legislative acts

 

PNL President Ludovic Orban pointed out on Monday that the Liberals do not support the bill drafting the Administrative Code and the bill amending the Criminal Procedure Code. Referring to the Administrative Code, Ludovic Orban says that “it re-politicises the public office and it gives free rein to the aggressive politicisation of the administration.”

“We have established PNL’s position on the Administrative Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, which are entering the Senate’s debate and will be voted in an expedited manner this week. PNL does not support the Administrative Code and the Criminal Procedure Code. We have plenty of arguments against these legislative acts,” Orban announced.

Referring to the Administrative Code, Orban pointed out that it “re-politicises the public office because it gives a free rein to the aggressive politicisation of the administration, and it leads to the removal of any fair principle that can stand at the basis of the functioning of the public administration in Romania.”

Likewise, he said that the European Commission’s position on the politicisation of public office shows that this Code leaves “no chance to the professionalisation of the administration.”

“In what concerns the Administrative Code, you can see that there is already a European Commission position, which draws attention to the politicisation of public office, on the fact that through this Administrative Code there is no chance to professionalise the administration and that the administration will be nothing but the partisan instrument of the will expressed by political leaders,” the PNL leader explained.

On Monday, the Senate, as decisive Chamber, was scheduled to vote the bill concerning the drafting of the Administrative Code, which stipulates special pensions, within the limit of three terms, for mayors, deputy mayors, county chairmen and county deputy chairmen elected in office since 1992.

The European Commission warns that Parliament’s amendments to the Administrative Code jeopardise the efforts to professionalise civil servants and cancel out the steps already taken in this sense. The Commission also shows, in a point of view remitted to G4Media.ro, that failure to meet the obligations assumed by Romania (ex-ante) represents grounds for the suspension of European grant payments. Basically, Romania risks losing the financial allocation of the 2014-2020 financial framework, namely 553.19 million euro.

 

Tariceanu announces possibility of extending parliamentary session

 

Senate Speaker Calin Popescu-Tariceanu has stated that there is a very high probability that the Legislative’s leadership would decide to extend the parliamentary session by 10 days, in early July, for the representatives to finalise the criminal and civil legislation.

“It is very likely for us to take the political decision, at the level of Parliament, to hold an extraordinary session in the first 10 days of July, in order to finalise the Criminal Code, the Civil Code and the Criminal Procedure Code,” Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated on Monday, after the Standing Bureau’s meeting.