President Klaus Iohannis at the Cotroceni Palace on Friday welcomed European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, who said that Romania has registered significant progress regarding the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), but additional efforts are needed to be able to finalise this process.
“Welcome to Romania! Welcome to Cotroceni! I am glad you have come, these are interesting times”, said Klaus Iohannis to the First Vice President of the European Commission.
Timmermans to Iohannis: It’s an interesting day
The European official replied: “It’s an interesting day”.
The National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) has announced on Friday a criminal investigation against Prime Minister Victor Ponta for forgery, complicity to tax evasion and money laundering in his former capacity of lawyer, and for conflict of interests in his current capacity of Prime Minister.
The Presidential Administration shows that during the meeting the two officials approached topics related to the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism on the judicial system functioning and the fight against corruption, Romania’s accession to the Schengen area, as well as the regional developments.
The cited source points out that the head of state underscored that he will continue to act, within the limit of his constitutional capacities, for the consolidation of the reforms in justice and of the fight against corruption.
During the talks, the stage of Romania’s accession to the Schengen area was also assessed, Klaus Iohannis having voiced his hope that positive evolutions will be registered in this process as soon as possible.
Both speakers agreed that, in the current highly complex international context, Romania can play an important role, representing a stability factor in the region.
European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans is European Commissioner for Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, Rule of Law and Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Romanian Parliament chairs welcome EC First Vice-President Frans Timmermans
Senate Chairman Calin Popescu Tariceanu and Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Valeriu Zgonea, on Friday welcomed First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans.
According to a press statement of the Senate released on Friday, Tariceanu appreciated the fact that featuring on the agenda of talks with the high ranking European official was the rule of law, saying that there is a diversity of topics at a European level that concern Romania and the member states, voicing openness to discussing the issues in the relations with the European partners.
‘The Romanian officials highlighted the very important stages in Romania’s reform of its judiciary, so that now the organisations involved in the justice process have all the necessary levers to carry out their duties. At the same time, Tariceanu underscored the role of Parliament in the functioning of the rule of law and the consolidation of a democratic society where guaranteeing the rights and freedoms of citizens is an essential factor,’ reads the statement.
Tariceanu also voiced worries over the rule of law in Romania potentially turning repressive because of an abuse of power, because preventive detentions are excessive, pointing to the need for independent justice without political interferences and securing the observance of the presumption of innocence, without which justice is not credible.
Timmermans is quoted as hailing the progress of Romania with judiciary reform, mentioning the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism is still an important instrument, and that in accordance with his mission inside the European Commission he wants to keep close relations with the Romanian authorities and the leaderships of the two chambers of Parliament as well as to continue dialogue with partners in Romania.
The European Commission First Vice-President also met the Senate and Chamber of Deputies’ joint committees on European affairs.
In a press statement sent to Agerpres on Friday, the Chamber of Deputies says the existing dialogue and good cooperation between national and European institutions to improve legislation, inter-institutional relations and the rule of law was commended, and the need to strengthen and continue diversification of inter-institutional collaboration was highlighted.
‘I told the European official that Romania, via the Committee on European Affairs of the Chamber of Deputies, was the first country to hold a public debate on the country report released by the European Commission early this year,’ MP Ana Birchall is quoted as saying in the statement.
In his turn, Timmermans commended the good inter-institutional cooperation in the area of European affairs, saying that the Romanian Legislature is one of the most active in the area and that the objectives the European Commission expects from the national parliaments are better legislation, more transparency, and greater involvement of the citizens, through their representatives, in the debates.