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June 26, 2022

Ponta in Brussels: Romania is committed to the rule of law, democracy

PM Victor Ponta went yesterday to Brussels to meet EU officials in order to explain the political situation in Romania and to assure them that the concerns expressed recently by EU leaders regarding the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary are not real. Ponta met last night Hannes Swoboda, the leader of the S&D group in the European Parliament and was due to meet later the president of the Parliament, Martin Schulz. The premier’s schedule includes also meetings today with the president of the Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Council Herman van Rompuy and other leaders of political groups in the Parliament, except the EPP leader Joseph Daul. At a joint press point with Swoboda, Ponta told journalists that he will assure Barosso and Van Rompuy that the rule of law and the constitutional order have been and will be observed in Romania. Swoboda said that currently the European Commission doesn’t have all the information regarding the political situation in Romania and therefore the European officials should be given time to make a thorough assessment. The S&D leader said that he support all democratic measures adopted by Romania, especially by the Parliament. He expressed his regret that the EPP leader refused to meet the Romanian PM, admitting that such a situation is rarely seen in Brussels.  European People’s Party President Joseph Daul refused to meet the Prime Minister until the Romanian Government “puts into practice what the Constitutional Court recently decided.”

“Several Romanian colleagues within the European Parliament are trying to harm Romania’s image which is unacceptable as they practically are destroying it. Let the Commission work and we will accept the decisions of the Commission”, Swoboda said. Ponta said that in Romania the law is respected under difficult circumstances marked by a political battle between president Traian Basescu and the Social Liberal Union (USL), which enjoys great popular support. He reminded journalists that the Parliament suspended the head of state and the decision was endorsed by the Constitutional Court and that the final decision belongs to the voters, called to give their say at the referendum due on 29 July. “The rule of law was respected and no one will try to affect the independence of the Judiciary”, Ponta further said. In his view, the country report on the Mechanism of Cooperation and Verification due today is going to mirror the progress in the judiciary and assured that the Justice system is independent but it need to become more efficient. Ponta arrived in Brussels just about when the Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding was announcing, according to Mediafax, that next Wednesday, the Commission will debate the political situation in Romania and a day after several Dem Libs headed by Vasile Blaga complained about the alleged infringement of the rule of law and constitution before EU leaders. “In Romania the law is observed”, Ponta said in a communiqué sent to the foreign press ahead of his arrival in Brussels. The premier assured that, in case the EU will find that several measures adopted recently are not in compliance with the EU rules they will be corrected. “I will restate my unswerving commitment to democracy and the rule of law,” Ponta said in the statement, assuring about his determination to uphold the Romanian constitution and European values. Ahead of his departure, Ponta told a government meeting that he will leave for Brussels in order to put an end to the “flagrant and terrible disinformation” on the issue of President Traian Basescu’s suspension, Mediafax informs. He also pointed out that there are still persons in the EU that believe the Head of State was suspended by the government.The Head of Government also planned to discuss with EU leaders about a solution so that the European Commission’s report on the Romanian judiciary will not be used in the referendum campaign.

Ponta pledged to never talk to Basescu again

In an interview at Romania TV news channel on the eve of his departure to Brussels, the PM said that he will never talk to President Traian Basescu again and he will limit their contacts simply to “etiquette” during official events, explaining that there is no point discussing with a backstabber. “Irrespective of the things that set us apart, I tried to behave normally, constitutionally, institutionally, in a European manner with President Traian Basescu. His answer was the rudest answer possible, namely he framed that plagiarism issue against me,” Ponta stated on RTV.






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