President Klaus Iohannis said in an interview offered to German public television ARD that ‘currently, Romania is in a phase of intense anti-corruption effort (…) when the laws should not be changed’. Iohannis refers to the proposed changes of the Criminal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure that have been adopted by the Romanian Senate. The President said the amendments were not at all welcome at that point in time and that he was ‘seriously considering’ challenging them before the Constitutional Court if adopted by Parliament.
‘Combating corruption is not a hobby of mine or of other people’s who insist on that, it is a necessity in Romania, if we want to keep developing’, Iohannis also said. ‘Romania is currently in a phase of intense anti-corruption effort. It is not easy either for the country or prosecutors and, of course, it is also not easy on politicians who do not want things to come to light. We have had a relatively effective effort against corruption for a few years now in Romania’, Iohannis stressed.
‘The success of the fight against corruption in Romania has had echoes beyond our borders. The neighbouring countries want to learn our recipe and are preparing similar action. I believe we are in a phase where the fight against corruption has produces some very important first results. Since there are politicians who have thought they should depress the brake of such actions, a few days ago I decided to address the public on this subject again. I said that, first of all, the combating of corruption must continue until corruption disappears entirely. There is no alternative. Corruption is a huge problem for a country like Romania and is a major impediment for the development of Romania’, the head of state further explained.
Asked what he would do if the changes made to the Criminal Code were adopted by the Parliament, Iohannis answered: ‘Any law may be returned to Parliament to be reconsidered, and if that does not work, I still have the possibility of challenging it before the Constitutional Court. I am considering this option very seriously, because I don’t want the changes of legislation to happen during this phase of intense fight against corruption. In a few years’ time, when the number of corruption cases will hopefully have reduced dramatically, we can start talking about changing the law, but only when practice shows that a change is actually needed’, Iohannis answered.
Asked about the fact that he was often criticised for his silence at several key-moments regarding highly important subjects for the Romanian society, the president said he had been ‘on the barricades since the beginning’, and that his silence had not been a genuine silence. ‘Considering the rhythm Romania was used to, indeed, I address the public rarely. Compared to other countries in Europe, on the other hand, my public positions are quite many. The manner in which I choose to address issues and the way I express myself is very different to my predecessor’s and this is exactly why there are people who appreciate that I speak too little. However, I do know when it is necessary for my thoughts to be publicly expressed.