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January 23, 2022

Dutch Ambassador to Romania: “Carry out the confiscations and give everything back to the state and taxpayers”

Matthijs van Bonzel, the Dutch Ambassador to Romania, has criticized the Romanian state’s inability to confiscate illicit wealth and has stated that our country has to carry out all commitments it took when it joined the EU and has to reach a certain “level of performance” if it wants to be accepted in the Schengen Area too. He made the statements in an interview for Digi24, before the end of his mission in Romania.
Matthijs van Bonzel explained that the Dutch Parliament reads the CVM report drafted by independent experts every six months and notices every time that Romania registers progress but there are still some things to do.
“And our Parliament says “Oh, that’s interesting! So there is still work to do? Then why isn’t Romania doing everything that it was supposed to do in order to join the EU? Wouldn’t it be more important for it to do that before avoiding the problem and asking to join a new club, such as the Schengen Area or Euro Area?” As Churchill said, all in due time: first you join a club, then you implement its rules and, once you are a perfectly integrated club member, then you can pursue something else. (…) Schengen is not the most important thing, what’s important is the extent to which Romania can rapidly catch up with the markets and with the European Union it was allowed to join even though it hadn’t implemented all the rules,” the ambassador emphasized.
At the same time, he confirmed that Romania still has problems when it comes to corruption, including those having to do with the confiscation of illicit wealth.
“Yes, it is an example. A precise example. We all learned the game. It’s a relatively new game. The Italians started it when they took the “toys” back from the Mafia and put them back into the state coffers, returned them to the citizens. We, all of us, followed this example: France, Netherlands, Germany. We are all working on this. So is the United States. Romania is catching up. But Romania has to reach a certain level of performance. The DNA is performing well, we have the law on the extended confiscation of illicit wealth, and the judges will enforce all of these laws. But everything got stuck. According to Ms. Kovesi, there are approximately 400 million that should be confiscated and returned to the people. But there is a gridlock. Everything is checked and goes well, up to a point. This is one of our recommendations. Carry out the confiscations and give everything back to the state or taxpayers,” the Dutch Ambassador also stated in the interview.

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