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March 24, 2023

Following international worries, PM to visit European capitals

The Prime Minister said that he will pay visits to Brussels, Berlin and Paris to explain the political situation. President Basescu: I haven’t talked to any foreign politician.

Foreign media has vehemently reacted to the moves on the Romanian political scene. In an extensive article published a mere few hours before the Romanian president was impeached, French right-wing newspaper Le Figaro comments on the reactions by the Romanian and foreign public opinion to the political dispute between the Social Liberal Union (USL) and President Traian Basescu, stating the latter “is yet to have the final say” and views what’s happening in Romania as a “state coup against the Romanian president”. The head of the European People’s Party (EPP) Group in the European Parliament, Joseph Daul, on Friday depicted Traian Basescu’s impeachment as a ‘state coup’, which prompted the USL MEPs to write him an open letter wherein they asked him to apologize to the Romanian people for his statements. The president of the European People’s Party, (EPP), Wilfried Martens, too, is on President Basescu’s side, saying that the “forced” vote to impeach President Traian Basescu is “another unscrupulous political act for the implementation of the growing authoritarianism by PM Victor Ponta and his USL coalition.” Given international negative comments are growing stronger against the USL, Prime Minister Victor Ponta announced he would tour several European capitals, including Brussels, to provide explanations about the situation in Romania. He made the point he conveyed to both the president of the European Commission and of the European Parliament to send experts to Bucharest to learn first-hand about the justice system being independent. Friday evening, after President Traian Basescu had been impeached by Parliament, the PM also said that at the time of the European Council meeting June 28, he was in Brussels for a Party of European Socialists (PES) meeting, and asked the head of state for Romania not to “remain with an empty seat “.In his turn, President Basescu Friday evening said that foreign reactions to the functioning of the rule of law in Romania have not been caused by his discussions with foreign politicians, but relied on information sent by embassies in Bucharest. “I haven’t spoken to anybody, either foreign journalists, or foreign politicians (…) I saw Mr. Ponta’s statements that I don’t know which politicians did I don’t know what. The states that reacted have embassies in Bucharest, have experts with a very good knowledge of Romanian legislation and institutions. Nobody needs guidance from I don’t know which Romanian MPE. The reactions in the European capitals are generated by information sent from embassies in Bucharest,” Basescu says.The conflict which resulted in President Traian Basescu’s impeachment may affect “fundamental European values,” German FM Guido Westerwelle told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s Sunday online edition.Yesterday’s Deutsche Welle online suspects President Basescu of having been “too involved”, as he “allegedly influenced austerity policies in Romania through his tight relationship with the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL)”. PM Victor Ponta, too, was also put under close scrutiny by the journalists at Deutsche Welle, who wrote that the Romanian premier has steadily tried to broaden his powers.The Council of Europe has taken note of Basescu’s impeachment, with its general secretary, Thorbjorn Jagland, calling on the Venice commission to examine whether these actions are compatible with rule of law and democracy. “I am very concerned about the recent developments in Romania, especially about actions taken by the Government and the Parliament in respect of key democratic institutions. I have requested an opinion from the Council of Europe’s Commission for Democracy through Law – of which Romania is a member – on whether these actions are compatible with democratic principles and the rule of law”, Jagland said.Moreover, the U.S. State Department criticized the Romanian leaders’ power struggle on Saturday, saying recent actions by the ruling leftist alliance, which is trying to impeach the president, were a threat to democratic checks and balances.

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