Prime Minister Victor Ponta says a 2005 law on restitution of real estate properties confiscated by the communist regime was the worst harm ever done to Romania.
Speaking at the ‘Romania TV’ station on Monday night, Ponta asserted the law drafted by then-minister of justice Monica Macovei resulted in many illegal restitutions, for which some judges are also culpable, as proven by investigations of the National Anticorruption Directorate.
‘I have always said it and I keep saying it from my political and juridical experience. The worst harm ever done to Romania was through Law 247 of 2005, the Macovei Law, through which we not only return property to former owners, which up to a point – of course, no one did that in former communist countries – but let’s admit that up to a point it was OK. We returned schools, hospitals, police stations, and we ended up returning land about twice the area of Romania, 12 million hectares in excess of the existing land. Thus – I’m opening a parenthesis here – the very initiator of the law of returning the homes, of property to former owners, Mrs. Macovei, won a house from its former owner,’ the prime minister said.
He added that early in 2013, after the Social Liberal Union [led by Ponta’s Social Democratic Party] the first normative act for which his Cabinet asked a vote of confidence in the Parliament was Law 165 of 2013, which halted the restitutions.
‘Contested rights and properties were taxed 85 percent, and we have tried to put an end to this phenomenon, through which Romania was robbed. We did not stop it completely, as lawsuits are in progress; there are still court rulings infringing this law,’ Ponta added.
He claimed that 10-15 percent of the most profitable state-owned companies like Hidrolelectrica, Romgaz and Transgaz have been transferred ‘for nothing’ to the Proprietatea Fund, which was established to compensate the former owners.
Ponta mentioned the case of Nades, a village in Arad County (western Romania) entirely restituted by a judge; he claimed it proves that ‘many illegal restitutions, the largest and most obviously wrongful, were ruled by courts.’