The rule of law “has made outstanding progress in Romania” and the European Commission will not accept Romania taking “backsteps” on this path, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told a joint press conference with Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis, in Brussels, on Wednesday.
“The rule of law has made outstanding progress in Romania and it is in an acceptable stage. We won’t accept Romania taking backsteps on this path. It must be an irreversible progress and I trust the judicial system in Romania,” he said.
“I am very well informed about decisions regarding rule of law in Romania”
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also told a press conference he held jointly with the Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis, that he is “very well informed” about the matters related to the rule of law and has “a civilized dialogue” with the Executive in Bucharest.
He answered thus to a question related to the fact that in Romania certain statements implied that the European Commission would be misinformed in respect to what happens in Romania.
“I took note of the fact that I was, how I should say this, misinformed, and I would like to tell you that I am very well informed in respect to the decisions concerning the rule of law,” said the President of the European Commission.
He underscored that he trusted the judiciary system in Romania, which “works.”
“I have a civilized dialogue with the Romanian government, but the judiciary system in Romania works and we cannot say the same about all the member states now,” he pointed out.
“If justice laws remain in current form, discussions on CVM, Schengen – in other terms”
If the justice laws in Romania remain as adopted by Parliament, the discussions on the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) and the Schengen accession will be “in other terms”, the “natural” place of Romania being in the Schengen area, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday during a joint press conference with President Klaus Iohannis in Brussels.
Juncker spoke about the proposals to amend the Romanian justice laws, but also about the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism, and the Schengen accession.
“The natural place deserved by Romania is inside the Schengen area and this commission will not cease until the CVM is abolished, until Romania is recognized among the Schengen states,” the President of the Commission pointed out.
However, he pointed out that if the Laws of Justice remain in the current form, these discussions will be “in other terms”.
“If the laws of Romania remain as adopted by Parliament, the discussions on the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism and the Schengen accession will be put in other terms. We await the decisions of the Constitutional Court and if everything goes well, we must ensure Romania its place in the Schengen area, because Romanians do not deserve to be treated as second-class citizens,” said Jean-Claude Juncker.
Iohannis: We have major problem with Laws of Justice and Criminal Codes in Romania; solution is with us
President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday in Brussels that there is a “major problem” in Romania with the Laws of Justice and Criminal Codes, and the solution is in the country, not abroad.
“We have a major problem with the Laws of Justice and the Codes in Romania, and we have to solve it in Romania. We are in vain waiting for someone to come up with a solution from abroad. The solution is with us,” Iohannis told a joint conference with the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and European Commissioner Corina Cretu.
He pointed out that “we have legislative solutions that satisfy the needs of the system at home, but also satisfy the generally valid criteria that we call European values.”
“That is why I get involved a great deal and I am optimistic about the final path.” We are now in an intermediate phase. “Already, the second law was sent back by the CCR [Constitutional Court of Romania] for improvement, this process will take a while, obviously my expectation is for us to have laws that take into account the CCR decisions and come to improve the whole framework, but on the other hand, laws that keep, guarantee, strengthen the independence of justice and facilitate the act of justice in Romania, and for this I get involved quite a lot. These things are also known here, in Brussels, and I do not assume that modifying these laws will automatically lead to a complication of the phasing out process on CVM [Co-operation and Verification Mechanism] or to the complication of the Schengen file, which is still unclear anyway,” the head of state said.
Iohannis stressed that, from the very beginning, the President of the European Commission and the Commission supported the acceptance of Romania into the Schengen area.
He voiced concern about the legislative procedure on the Laws of Justice, saying that is why he spoke during this process.
“The laws have not arrived to me. When they do, I will write a letter to the CCR or Parliament, I have several variants here,” concluded Iohannis.
Klaus Iohannis: Romanian Justice independence is untouchable, it is a matter I will get fully involved in
The independence of Romanian Justice is untouchable, President Klaus Iohannis said in Brussels on Wednesday, adding that he would get fully involved in this matter.
“I am personally determined and positive I will manage that these discussions end with laws that will be improved in their best version, that can be used in practice,” the head of state pointed out in a joint press conference with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
He reiterated the dedication for this goal. ” The independence of Romanian Justice is untouchable, it is a matter which I will get fully involved in, I will do everything a president can do for things to stay this way,” Iohannis added.
“Commission, President Juncker right from the start in favor of Romania’s Schengen bid”
The European Commission and EC President Jean-Claude Juncker have been right from the start in favor of accepting Romania to the Schengen Area, President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday in Brussels, speaking at a joint press conference with chief of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. As he addressed the subject of the envisaged amendments to the Justice package, Iohannis said: “I don’t start from the assumption that amending these laws will automatically complicate the ‘phasing out’ of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism or complicate the Schengen file, which is anyway still in limbo, and in this context, allow me to emphasize this – the Commission and the President have been right from the start in favor of Romania’s joining the Schengen and I appreciate that.”
The head of the state also referred to his meeting with the EC President back in 2015, when “President Juncker said that in his opinion the CVM needs to be ‘phased out’ by the end of the Commission’s current term.”
“I appreciate that he has clearly and rigorously kept this target,” said the President of Romania.
President of Romania: Discussions on Justice don’t help Schengen file
Romania’s President underlined in Brussels that discussions related to Justice don’t help the Schengen file, pointing out that if Romania has a modernised and reasonable legislation in the area, the things related to the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) will be “easy to solve.”
“If we can have a justice legislation that is also modernised and reasonable, then things will be easy to solve on the CVM,” Iohannis said.
President Iohannis, after meeting Juncker: Romania is a pro-European country and will stay that way
President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday stated that he discussed with the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, about Romania preparing to take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and underscored that Romania is a pro-European country and it will stay that way.
“Regarding to the Presidency of the Union Council we are about to take over I have already said from the beginning that Romania is a pro-European country. And it will stay that way. It is a country that is deeply committed to the process of consolidation of the Union and at the summit that we will organize during our Presidency we will contribute, I believe to a great extent, to the building of a very good future for the Union. (…) Our vision is a strong pro-European one and our strategic objective is a more profound integration with the Union. And we want this to result also from the manner in which we will organize our Presidency time. We are for a deeper integration,” said the head of the state, at the joint press conference he had with Jean-Claude Juncker and European Commissioner Corina Cretu.
President Iohannis highlighted the four important dimensions to stay at the grounds of Romania’s programme for the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, namely: ensuring sustainable and balanced growth for all member states in the innovation and digitization areas, increasing convergence rate and connectivity, maintaining a safe Europe for its citizens, strengthening the global role of the European Union and promoting European values.
The head of state also specified that in preparing the Presidency of the EU Council he has “very many problems to solve.” In this context, he thanked European Commission President Juncker for his readiness to support Romania, either through talks at leadership level or at technical level.
Iohannis also mentioned that the main files that Romania will have to deal with during its Presidency will be: Brexit-related negotiations on the multi-annual framework post-2020 and the future of the EU.
“We discussed about Romania too. There has been an interest in the events that we are facing back home these days, including in what happens in the justice area, but what I want to say from the very beginning is that all the discussions were positive, constructive and I enjoyed them, the head of the state said.
Meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk: Discussions on Justice don’t help Schengen file, says Iohannis
President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday that discussions related to Justice don’t help the Schengen file, pointing out that if Romania has a modernised and reasonable legislation in the area, the things related to the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) will be “easy to solve.”
“These discussions on Justice certainly don’t help the Schengen file. If they do damage or not, it is left to be seen. My opinion is to take care of the justice laws, to make them good, good in the first place for Romanians, not for anyone else and them we can probably continue with some sort of success the discussions on Schengen too,” Iohannis said after the meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk.
He showed that Romania has to files – the CVM and Schengen – and that in the case of the first the Government is negotiating on Romania’s behalf.
“We have two files. The CVM is related to the European Commission and also the the manner in which President Juncker sees things and here I believe we can be optimistic.. It greatly depends on us if we have enough wisdom to have a justice legislation that is also modernised and reasonable and can be accepted in the best version and works well, then things will be easy to solve on the CVM. Anyhow, the negotiation format is institutionally given on the CVM by these topics and on our behalf in this area it is the Government who negotiates, we must say it very clearly. In the other file – Schengen – it is a file where the Commission has an opinion, but the decision is made in the meeting of Justice and Home Affairs ministers, where the member states have a powerful word to say,” he said.
“No one has any doubts about functioning of rule of law in Romania”
President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday that the rule of law is a vital issue for Romania, stressing that no one has any doubts about its functioning.
“There is no such thing in the treaties, and if there is a discussion, it is held in political terms and I do not think that a conclusion can be reached for the negotiations that will be taking place now. This approach I was able to observe also in the EPP, which has voiced its opinion on this matter, and the EPP’s voice matters in this equation, where the rule of law criterion, at least now, cannot be taken into account for many reasons. I do not think there is any problem here for Romania, nor did anyone begin to believe that in Romania the rule of law is no longer operating. We must not panic on any subject. The fact that we have a discussion on the Laws of Justice is a matter related to the Romanian politics I am optimistic that it can be solved. The rule of law is a matter that is vital to Romania, but in the same way for Europe and it has not been questioned and there were no doubts in this regard at home or in Brussels,” Iohannis said after his meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk, when asked how he sees the link between the rule of law and the granting of European funds.