Ruling power accused PSD of seeking to freeze Romania’s EU funds. The Social Democrats deny the allegation and accuses PM Boc of disinformation.
The ruling power and the opposition are clashing over Romania’s external image following last week’s protests. After PSD President Victor Ponta went to Strasbourg early last week to signal to the leaders of the S&D and ALDE groups within the European Parliament that street protests in Romania were also caused by the postponement of local elections and their coupling with Parliamentary elections this year, the Democrat-Liberals accused the opposition of seeking to misinform European officials out of a desire to freeze Romania’s European funds.
Premier Emil Boc stated on Saturday, during a press conference, that PDL “imperatively” asks PSD to stop any “irresponsible” initiative to ask for Romania’s European funds to be frozen and deemed that the solution is dialogue, not “squealing to the High Porte.” “One can’t play with Romania’s interest of tapping EUR 6 bln just this year. Trying to get to power by blocking European funds in Brussels, at the Romanians’ expense, is a gesture of maximum irresponsibility for a party,” Boc said.
Also on Saturday, Victor Ponta replied that the Social-Democrats never raised the issue of freezing European funds, Emil Boc’s statements to that effect being “irresponsible.” “Mr. Boc is irresponsible when lying about such a thing, because the only thing USL did was to signal the ruling power’s serious democratic backsliding, namely postponing and coupling elections, adopting 14 laws by assuming responsibility on them and thus by-passing Parliament, exercising political control over the public television. There was never any talk about European funds. Faced with popular protests, lacking a solution and without trying to enter a real dialogue with the people, PDL’s representatives are back to doing what they do best: lying, spreading disinformation, manipulating,” he stated for Mediafax.
The battle was also waged by PDL and PSD MEPs. PDL MEP, Theodor Stolojan said yesterday in a press conference that Antonescu and Ponta sent a toxic message to the European Parliament which attacks Romania’s stability and international credibility. UNPR honorary president, Cristian Diaconescu also said that moving the political dispute abroad will affect Romania;s credibility. “Ponta wants to isolate Romania at a time when Europe is making efforts to overcome the crisis all member states are going through,” Marian Jean Marinescu, leader of PDL MEPs, also stated. In his turn, PDL MEP Cristian Preda accused Victor Ponta of “manoeuvring” against his own country by trying to compare Romania with Hungary and of trying to use Martin Schulz, who is now President of the European Parliament, in the internal political game, just like his predecessors Geoana and Nastase did. In reply, Catalin Ivan, leader of PSD MEPs, claimed that USL never talked about sanctions against Romania and accused the PDL MEPs of “lying.” In her turn, PSD MEP Rovana Plumb stated that PSD does not want to see an EP resolution that would lead to sanctions against Romania.
President meeting EPP leaders
Although they accused the Social-Democrats of calling on European leaders and of getting them involved in internal politics, the Democrat-Liberals seem to be doing the same thing, namely seeking external support. Thus, on Friday evening President Basescu met EPP Secretary General Antonio Lopez. The two talked about organizing the party’s congress. The meeting was also attended by PM Emil Boc, Roberta Anastase, Vasile Blaga and several other ministers. According to a PDL communiqué, MEP Antonio Lopez stated that the attempt of political groups in Bucharest and Brussels to politicize a civic protest against the country’s whole political class will fail within the European Parliament. The Cotroceni meeting was criticized by USL, the latter accusing the head of state of violating the Constitution because he organized a party meeting at the Presidential Palace and that the meeting proves he wants “to buy” EPP support. “Had Iliescu organized a Congress of Socialists, how outraged would Basescu have been?” Ponta asked.