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January 24, 2022
POLITICS

Ponta tells Barroso Romanians who voted in referendum could not be ignored

The EC president asked Ponta that key nominations for the posts of General Prosecutor and Chief Prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate are conducted in a fair and transparent way.

According to a press release published by the European Commission after the meeting PM Victor Ponta and EC President Jose Manuel Barroso had Monday evening, ‘President Barroso expressed the same concerns to Prime Minister Ponta as he had last week to President Basescu on the need for Romania to remove all doubts on its commitment to the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and the respect for constitutional rulings’.  Like during his meeting with President Basescu, Barroso ‘made clear that all political forces in Romania, in government and in opposition, should act with responsibility and restraint and to set their focus very firmly on the urgent need to restore institutional and political stability’, stressing that it ‘will be especially important in the run-up to the parliamentary elections this autumn’. ‘President Barroso emphasised the importance that Romania promotes all European values, the values of justice and freedom and all the features of a truly pluralistic society’, reads the press release. The European official also ‘stressed the importance of continuing with the efforts towards achieving the objectives of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism’.In addition to the talks with Basescu, the EC communiqué released after the meeting between Barroso and Ponta refers to the future nominations for the offices of Prosecutor General of Romania and head of DNA. ‘It will be especially important that key nominations for the posts of General Prosecutor and Chief Prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate are conducted in a fair and transparent way. The Government, both before and after the election should avoid appointing Ministers with clear integrity rulings against them. The Commission will adopt a further report before the end of this year, to assess whether all its concerns have been addressed and the necessary democratic checks and balances have been restored’, the press release states. President Barroso gave an overview of recent economic developments across the European Union and urged the Romanian Government to maintain the efforts to keep the two economic adjustment programmes on track. ‘The progress of structural reforms, particularly the restructuring of state-owned companies and reform of healthcare are crucial for the long-term sustainability of public finances’, says the release.The two officials also addressed the subject of EU fund absorption by Romania. The Commission release states that ‘the absorption capacity remains extremely low and Romania risks to lose significant amounts of funding that could have a major beneficial impact on Romanian citizens and businesses’. President Barroso urged the government to take the immediate measures necessary to improve the administrative capacity and public procurement rules.According to Mediafax, Prime Minister Victor Ponta in turn said, after seeing Barroso that he had told him that the vote expressed in the referendum for the impeachment of President Basescu could not be ignored, however also noting that local political disputes should not manifest themselves at an EU level. Asked of the Commission president had criticised him over anything in particular during their talks in Brussels, on Monday, the premier gave a negative answer, adding that the EU official had actually appreciated the fact that the ‘famous’ 11 points he had undertaken to fulfil during the summer had been treated by the Government in the most serious way and also completed.  He further pointed out it was necessary for the absorption of European money should grow in Romania in order not risk losing available funds.Yesterday, at the Government headquarters, the PM said relations between the Government and the European Commission and between the Romanian Parliament and the European Parliament had gone back on normal track and positions had been put in considerable balance. ‘I could see in the tone and attitude of the president of the European Commission and of the other European officials that a considerable part of the differences and reciprocal reproaches had been left behind’, Ponta said. The chief of the Executive noted that President Traian Basescu ‘just issued an opinion’ when he assured the leaders of the European Commission and European Council that Romania would take part in the banking union without being a member of the eurozone, explaining that the president had been in no position to make such a commitment. ‘I am convinced that President Basescu may not commit himself on behalf of Romania and that he just issued an opinion. Commitments may be made for Romania only by the Parliament and the Government. He has an opinion and has the right to have one’, said the prime minister. Victor Ponta noted that the Government, after consulting the Parliament and the National Bank of Romania, would have an official position in the matter in the upcoming period as aspects raised by other countries, especially Poland, are clarified. 

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