President Klaus Iohannis said Wednesday that he wants a strong Parliament that enjoys the trust of citizens. Addressing for the third time since investiture to the joint Parliament Chambers, he added that he cannot imagine a strong Romania without an equally strong parliament.
“I said it once and I will report is as long as it takes: I want a strong Parliament that enjoys the trust of the citizens. I cannot imagine a strong Romania without its most representative institution measuring up to it,” Iohannis told a plenary session of the Romanian Parliament.
He added that there are two essential aspects that should define a strong parliament: quality legislation and functioning relations with other state powers.
Iohannis mentioned having paid special attention to the laws coming to him for promulgation, because the entire operation of the state organisations, the economy and the society depends one way or another on the relationship with the law.
He mentioned that when asking for re-examination of laws he noticed aspects related to legislative quality and consistence.
He mentioned to the point 13 changes in the Tax Code in 2015, as well as changes in the education law, the law on healthcare reform, the local public administration law and the Labour Code every two or three months and even twice or three times in one and the same month. He also said that one and the same piece of legislation was being changed under two distinct laws almost concomitantly submitted for promulgation.
Moreover, Iohannis said that according to the findings of a recent study, 80 percent of Romanians are dissatisfied with laws being hard to understand in Romania.
“I believe the fact that people want clearer and simpler judiciary rules that do not change overnight is no surprise to anyone. But this reality requires an answer,’ said Iohannis.
Parliament’s response to judiciary requests can affect its credibility
Romania’s President told MPs that a strong parliament entails a right positioning toward justice, adding that Parliament’s response to requests from the judiciary can affect its credibility.
“To me, a strong parliament entails a correct positioning toward the judiciary. Respect for the law cannot be dissociated from the relationship with justice. Each time I believed slippages occurred I told you, not because I would look to interfere with the activity of Parliament, but precisely because the way in which the institution responds to the requests from the judiciary can affect its credibility,” said Iohannis.
He added that at the end of his term in office he would like corruption to no longer top the agenda of public concerns.”A strong Romania is not only a corruption-free Romania, but also a Romania where respect for the law has been restored,” said Iohannis.
“Approaches like pass laws today to amend them under ordinances tomorrow should be abandoned”
President Klaus Iohannis told the joint session of Parliament that approaches like passing laws today to amend them under government emergency ordinances tomorrow should be abandoned, not to restrain Government, but as proof of responsibility in exercising power.
“We can no longer afford to talk about legislative stability and predictability while leaving things precisely as they are in essence. I would not like us to meet again next year or in two years’ time to see there is the same balance of legislative changes in key areas. Approaches like passing laws today only to amend them under emergency ordinances tomorrow should be abandoned, not in order to restrain Government, but as proof of responsibility in exercising power. Let us put a full stop and start over. This can be the zero moment when restoring credibility in lawmaking as a judiciary action of Parliament and fundamentals of social relationships can start,” Iohannis told a plenary session of Parliament.
He added that “flexible legislation directly connected to the needs and expectations of the society, free of populism and sustainable in time, is the fundamental of the rule of law and it should become a priority of the entire political class.”
“Parliament can and should place itself in the midst of an attempt to recover, simplify and systematise legislation in Romania to make it more coherent, stable and predictable,” added Iohannis.
“I’ll have discussion with Gov’t; I want Romania ready for centennial, council presidency”
Romania’s President also said from Parliament’s rostrum that he will have a serious discussion with Government and come up before Parliament with proposal’s for the centennial of modern Romania and the takeover by Romania of the rotating six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union.
“We are getting close to the centennial in 2018 of the modern Romanian state and then the takeover of the rotating presidency of the [council of the] EU in the second half of 2019. We have to clearly undertake now where we want these events to find us, how Romania will get before the world and how the organisations will stand before the citizens. I will have a serious discussion with the Government and then come up before Parliament with a series of proposals so that Romania may be ready to celebrate its centennial and the takeover of the presidency,’ said Iohannis.
He added that these are major themes Romania has on its agenda.
“There are big challenges as well as big opportunities for us and we do not have time to waste on empty talk or for the sake of our own image. There is a responsibility we have and those who come after us will judge and evaluate us by the decisions we make today,” Iohannis concluded.
Migrant crisis: Things among partners are not solved by force, but in agreement
President Klaus Iohannis also told the joint session of Parliament that at the next meeting of the Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT) steps will be dcided for Romania to take related to the refugee crisis, adding that this situation can be solved, inside the European Union, only by open dialogue and agreement.
“I don’t believe that things among partners are solved by force, by threat with sanctions, but in agreement. I believe each member state has the right to act according to a specific situation it faces, according to the capacities and the possibilities it has. This is the point of view I supported and will continue to support in the conversations I shall have with the European leaders. Tomorrow, at the CSAT meeting, we shall agree on the steps Romania must take in this process, and as often as the developments in the situation require it I shall communicate both with Parliament and with representatives of the other state organisations,” said Iohannis.
He added that the migrant issue cannot be solved in a bureaucratic manner because it doesn’t concern “accommodation places, but people.”
“We are for solidarity inside the EU, we are solidary with the member states affected by this crisis. We act in the spirit of respecting the human rights and I believe that especially now we must reject the radical actions and display poise and wisdom. That is why I don’t believe this crisis can be solved by a bureaucratic or bookkeeping, mathematical approach, but only through open dialogue, through consultation with the member states, through a consensual decision, taking into account principles and values, context and realities. We are not talking about accommodation places, but about people, about their integration in society, about their access to education, healthcare services and jobs in the long term,” said Iohannis.