Ponta praises CoE’s support for democracy in Romania

The PM met in Strasbourg with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CoE) Thorbjorn Jagland ahead of his address to the Parliamentary Assembly of the European body.

Premier Victor Ponta said yesterday that Romania appreciated the ‘honest and balanced’ role the Council had in supporting Romanian politicians and Romanian institutions for the identification of the best solutions fir the country, for reaching European standards. ‘I will express before PACE members Romania’s satisfaction about its 20 years of full membership of the CoE, about the positive role CoE had in supporting Romania to become a democratic country where the rule of law is respected’, Ponta said in a joint press statement with the Norwegian Thorbjorn Jagland. He thanked the CoE for the help given to Romania in improving the implementation of the strategies for the Roma minority, as well as for the assistance offered on important cases such as the Property Restitution Law for which the Government asked for a vote of confidence in Parliament last week. On the agenda of the prime minister who yesterday attended the works of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) taking place in Strasbourg, April 22 to 26, there was also a meeting with the President of the Venice Commission, Gianni Buquicchio, PACE President Jean-Claude Mignon, the CoE Secretary General as well as the prime minister of Georgia.Before his talks with Gianni Buquicchio, Ponta said he would ask for his support in the drafting of positive amendments to the Romanian Constitution, ‘respecting all European standards’. ‘I will take the opportunity to express the commitment of my country to democracy, rule of law, our positive role in the region and express my belief that CoE has been all these years and must still be in the future the main institution shaping rules and standards in the area of human rights and rule of law and play a positive part not just for the member states of the European Union, but for all 47 members of the CoE. We count on our partnership and your support in improving rules, democratic standards and the rule of law’, the prime minister said. The Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Valeriu Zgonea (PSD), also attended the PACE meeting. According to a press release issued by the Chamber of Deputies, within the PACE Session, Zgonea attended the debates of the Committee for Political Affairs and Democracy of PACE on the motion regarding the functioning of democratic institutions in Romania, initiated by Swiss MP Andreas Gross. The Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies was going to also participate in the opening of an exhibition celebrating 20 years since Romania’s accession to the Council of Europe.

Damian Draghici: Discrimination affects Roma children integration in society

Senator Damian Draghici, member of the Romanian delegation to the ordinary PACE session, said during the debate ‘Stop discrimination of Roma children’ that Bucharest authorities wanted to meet the needs of the community and mostly to find solutions for the integration of Roma children in society. ‘Discrimination affects the members of the Roma community from very early ages, segregation in schools, modest housing conditions, acts of violence and lack of country being as many impediments in the way of integration of Roma children in society’, Said the senator. According to him, apart from unresolved problems of the Roma ethnics in this country, Romanian authorities consider offering an adequate answer to the needs of the community, focussing on the clarification of the legal situation of their houses and farmland, and renovation of existing homes to make them suitable for decent living. The Romanian MP stressed that, in the area of education, there were programmes designed to promote early children inclusion by preventing school dropout in five to eight year olds and, for Roma pupils who never completed the pre-school cycle of education, summer classes have been organised as a surrogate for the induction class.

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