First-Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans said Friday in Bucharest that the situation of Prime Minister Victor Ponta is an issue that has to do with Romania’s domestic policy, whereas the European Commission will not express any position on such specific case.
Asked at a joint conference with Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis for his take on Prime Minister Ponta having been summoned on Friday to the National Anticorruption Directorate and refusing to heed to President Iohannis’s request to tender resignation, Timmermans said he is in no position to comment on Romania’s domestic policy. He added that the European Commission never comments on specific cases in any member state of the European Union, Romania included. We are not talking generally here, he said, but about a very specific case, adding that he can see no reason why the European Commission should express an opinion on this specific case. The specific case is in the hands of the Romanian judiciary, while the political side of things is in the hands of the president, the prime minister and parliament; it has nothing to do with the European Commission, said Timmermans, according to Agerpres.
He underscored that Romania has made notable progress over the past years, while Bulgaria lacked such progress, and so the European Commission will stay involved in supporting both countries.
He said the European Commission supports Romania’s conducting structural reforms, structural improvements in the functioning of the organisations of the rule of law and will continue to do so no matter what happens in specific cases.
Timmermans also said that in his opinion the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) is an instrument that benefits the Romanian society because the rule of law has to be strengthened and corruption fought against so that each Romanian may feel the protection of the law.
The National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) on Friday announced its prosecutors started a criminal investigation of Prime Minister Ponta for offences while a lawyer, including false representations in documents under private signature, complicity to continual tax evasion and money laundering in a corruption case involving the signing of judiciary assistance contracts with Turceni and Rovinari energy corporations.