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October 31, 2020

Justice reform, part of the European construction

Catalin Predoiu, Romanian Minister of Justice:

“Today, Europe is probably the best place for a free living. This is a reality, not a random statement. It is the outcome of a complex project and of constant common work undertaken by the Member States and the European Commission.
Currently, as stated in the Stockholm program, complex problems place a challenge on our common space of Freedom, Security and Justice.  The strategic solution for problems as illegal migration, labour shortages, public budgetary deficits, pension funds, corruption, organized crime, human trafficking, terrorist threat, climate change and others, is the consolidation of the European project through constructive diversity, rather than its weakening through destructive segmentation. We simultaneously need more European solidarity and more European power. We simultaneously need more economic coherence and flexibility in the way we take these measures at national level, in order to reach pan-European sustainable development.

The Lisbon Treaty redefined the spheres of influence within the Union. The European Council and Parliament are the big winners. The structure of decision making within the Council and the Parliament implies an intensification of the bilateral dialogue between the Member States, a hyper-activity of each state in promoting its own interests and points of view.  This brings a confirmation, in the European concert, of the Parag Khanna’s thesis. In his view, the solving of global problems implies a dynamic, digital “mega-diplomacy”, free from traditional constraints and oriented on concrete and tangible results. This mega-diplomacy requires more that the action of Foreign Ministries. It relies on the involvement of NGO’s, the political personalities, the structured groups of the internet generation.  With respect to the classical diplomacy of the Member States, expected to bring its own contribution to concrete results for the benefit of citizens, it must be dramatically reformed, in a manner similar to that of the private diplomacy promoted by transnational companies, more dynamic, with a fresh mentality, “re-fitted”, re-oriented on concrete targets. As a French thinker once said, the diplomacy will always have ambassadors, the question is whether it would have diplomats. European External Action Service promoted by the Lisbon Treaty should be conceived and organized in these parameters.

Getting back to my initial point, I think those who live and make a living in Romania must ask ourselves where we are in the European concert. This is a question equally for public servants, for heads of transnational companies, who have every interest to promote Romania, for artists, intellectuals and business elites, for parliamentarians and mayors etc. The only way to promote our interests at European scale, while strengthening the European construction, is the structured and proactive involvement in the European concert, taking active part in the European agenda while promoting our national and local interests.

After the Lisbon Treaty, the role of the European citizens and of the civil society became much stronger. The political leaders must do more in order to attract citizens in the construction of the European project, to confer it with more legitimacy and efficiency.

The Stockholm program has placed the citizen in the centre of the European project. Its lines of action are conceived in order to ensure more tangible and concrete results for the space of Liberty, Security and Justice.

This is also the rationale of the Justice reforms we undertook. The politics must follow the reality, the way it manages to respond to citizens’ problems. Because Justice is about pleading and convincing, as opposed to imposing, we are building slowly, sometimes with difficulties, with stagnation and temporary failure that occasionally hinder the success. However we irreversibly build a new reality in the Judiciary, following standards agreed with the European Commission and the Member States. It is a part of the European construction, because it will benefit European citizens and companies.

Currently, the judicial reform in Romania has reached an advanced stage, of fine-tuning and consolidation of the results gained so far.  We have reached the point of the implementation for the crucially important measures adopted by the Executive and the Legislative in recent years. This involves complex processes of implementation, horizontal efforts (inter-institutional) and the allocation of significant resources.

Effects begin to show and will be reflected as magistrates and legal professions will implement public policies and the laws passed. It is impossible to exclude the time factor in the equation of change for the better of Justice.

In parallel, as a Member State, Ministry of Justice has successfully promoted the JHA Council agenda. European legal instruments co-initiated by Romania, the implementation of a large number of bilateral cooperation programs, the proactive involvement of the Ministry of Justice in the civilian component of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), the quality of founding member of the International Anti-Corruption Academy, as well as other issues that I will not further enunciate, prove that the Romanian Ministry of Justice is an important actor in the European area of Justice.”

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