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October 6, 2022

European Commission concerned about new ANI form

The European Commission is concerned about the amendments to the National Integrity Agency (ANI) adopted in Parliament, Commission Spokesman Mark Gray said on Friday, according to Mediafax. ‘Yes, we are concerned about the amendments adopted in Parliament. We are not going to take a position before the report (on justice reform progress – our note) that will be adopted later this month. (…) In the past few years, we have praised ANI for its good results in establishing incompatibilities, conflicts of interest and unjustified wealthy. To the Commission, ANI is a key-pillar in the fight against corruption’, Gray said.

The EC official reminded of the commitments Romania made upon its accession to the EU. ‘The amendments proposed and adopted by the Parliament raise serious concerns. Our initial analysis shows the newly adopted law fails to meet the key-conditions of the second benchmark imposed on Romania. We will need to carefully assess it and we will include this analysis in the report to be published later this month,’ Gray also said.

The Senate, as the decision-making chamber in the field, adopted the new ANI Law with 115 votes in favour and two abstentions, after re-examining it upon President Traian Basescu’s request. The senators adopted the report of the Legal Affairs Committee through which only a few of the points raised by the resident were included, while corre3dcting some of the previous provisions that had been ruled unconstitutional. The Senate voted to reject the extension from one to three years of the term when wealth statements may be subject to verification, and the re-establishment of wealth investigation commissions.

During debates, Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu said that, if the Senate adopted the draft in the version proposed by the Legal Affairs Committee, Romania would be sending out a signal of disinterest in the cooperation and verification mechanism. Several foreign diplomats and especially US Ambassador Mark Gitenstein have criticized the new ANI law provisions, stating that the agency had been weakened and lost some of its original powers.

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