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March 7, 2021

PM Ponta: You cannot send European partners to hell

Laura Codruta Kovesi has a very good image as far as our European partners are concerned and Romania cannot send them to hell and still complain about EU funds or Schengen, PM Ponta explains his decision to nominate Kovesi as head of DNA.

‘Our European partners do not see her (Kovesi – a/n) as Basescu’s person. Let’s drop this slightly childish theory that we are bowing (to European partners – a/n). No one forces us to bow, we can do whatever we like, but, in that case, let’s stop complaining about being subject to unequal treatment, about being banned from Schengen and not having enough European funds. If we are not interested in Europe and we send it to hell…what do we want? Send it to hell and then get the benefits? We cannot get anything. When you join a club where you are told you must be wearing black tie or evening dress, you can always show up wearing your jeans, but you’ll be thrown out. You cannot be both inside and outside. If we nominate known people, credible to the European partners, the one year of propaganda that USL is coming to stop corruption cases ends right there and that’s a huge gain for the USL Government and Romania,’ Ponta said on Antena 3 TV on Saturday. The premier however noted afterwards that there was no guarantee that Romania would be accepted into Schengen as a result of Kovesi’s being appointed as head of the National Anti-Corruption Department (DNA) and that he had not linked the European funds matter to her nomination to DNA either. He explained again that his proposals for chief prosecutors had just sought stability at the Public Ministry, removing Daniel Morar and ex-Justice Minister Monica Macovei’s monopoly and destroying the credibility of all those people who had claimed that USL would appoint to DNA someone who would stop corruption cases. ‘Sometimes one has to befriend the Devil to cross on the other side, the idea is just to make sure the bridge actually leads in the right director for everyone concerned. I am now convinced I did something that will have positive effects not for Basescu and not even for myself, who will certainly pay in terms of image, but for all the peopl,’ Ponta said.

The premier also reminded that he had been accused of ‘betrayal’ before, when he had withdrawn Mircea Geoana’s support for being the Speaker of the Senate, although he had only made that decision for the sake of PSD’s unity, when he had had a moderated speech during Mihai Razvan Ungureanu’s investment as rime Minister, although he had just presented in that speech the USL ruling programme and, afterwards, had contributed to his unseating, as well as for his proposed cooperation with UDMR, although, by that, he had just tried to stop an extremist rhetoric. ‘It’s easy to use big words when you have no responsibility (…). I cannot do nothing and keep the PM’s chair occupied just so that I do not annoy anyone,’ Ponta concluded. On the other hand, in a press release issued by the Government on Friday, it is shown that PM Victor Ponta, as interim Justice Minister, was asking the prosecutors’ department of the Superior Council of Magistracy to reconsider the time-table set for the six candidates proposed as prosecutors and notes the documents would be sent at the beginning of next week. Also on Antena 3 TV, Victor Ponta spoke about his statements in November 2012, when he had said that, if President Basescu praised him, it would have just meant he was exactly like Udrea, and that it was an election campaign then, whereas now decision makers must work together. ‘It was the election campaign then, if you take all statements… Mr. Basescu also said he would never appoint me as prime minister and he ended up by appointing me not once, but twice’, said the PM.

He answered a request to comment on his own statements on November 26, 2012, when he said he didn’t want to be praised by Basescu because that would have meant he was like him. On the other hand – he said- as long as he kept offending him, it meant USL was doing its job and that, if he did like Igas and Udrea, Basescu would praise him.

US Embassy: We are happy nominations for Prosecutor’s Office have been made

The US Embassy in Bucharest states it is happy that the nominations for lead Prosecution positions have been made and notes it encourages cooperation between premier, president and CSM so that an agreement can be reaches as soon as possible. ‘The US Embassy has constantly said it was of crucial importance to nominate independent and qualified prosecutors. We are happy to see the nominations have been made, and the consultative process can now move on,’ says the American Embassy. Also on Friday, the Ambassador of Great Britain to Bucharest, Martin Harris, said it was a very good thing that the PM had made his proposals for the appointments to leading Prosecution offices, as their filling was ‘an emergency’. ‘I have also said on other occasions that I think the filling of these positions is actually urgent. That’s because the office of prosecutor general and DNA chief prosecutor have been vacant for over eight months already, I believe, and other lead positions in the system have been unoccupied for even longer. It is not a normal thing at a time when Romania implements major justice reforms and puts this effort into fighting corruption as well,’ Harris said.


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