Chairman of the Bundestag’s European Affairs Committee Gunther Krichbaum (photo L) said on Friday that during his official visit to Romania ending today he met with representatives of several Romanian institutions, President Klaus Iohannis included, but that he did not ask for a meeting with Prime Minister Victor Ponta, because he considers that the Romanian PM should first talk to “other institutions”, given that he is being prosecuted.
Krichbaum said that the situation of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) was tackled in several instances during the talks the visiting delegation had in Romania, adding in this context that the European Commission has no intention to lift this monitoring tool.
He considers that the fight against corruption should continue in Romania, as in his view, the “very serious” offenses envisaged require maintaining the CVM in place.
All the reports so far explain why I didn’t request a meeting with Prime Minister Victor Ponta, because we consider that he should discuss with other people and institutions. He has been indicted and I remind you of a fact happened in Germany: former federal President Christian Wulff resigned office before being prosecuted, at the time the criminal investigation had just been announced. It is something that pertains to political culture. We want to avoid destroying the reputation of an office. It is a democratic principle and democracy is the only asset we have. I know it is a sensitive subject, I must strongly affirm that to me, Prime Minister Ponta is innocent and remains innocent until the court decides on whether he is guilty or not, but this mustn’t be happen any earlier than this ruling is handed down, said Gunther Krichbaum.
He reminded that in the end Christian Wulff was acquitted, and that in Victor Ponta’s situation, justice must have the necessary space to look into the case without any reservations.
In this context I also mention the lifting of immunity, which has repeatedly been blocked in Parliament. Immunity does not represent the privilege of one MP or another, but is actually a protection of the Parliament’s freedom as an institution, and this is an idea some of us should better ponder on, Krichbaum told a press conference at the German Embassy in Romania.
A delegation of the Bundestag Committee on European Affairs is in Bucharest between October 28 and 30 for political talks. The delegation is headed by Committee Chairman, deputy Gunther Krichbaum, and includes Committee Vice-Chairman Heinz-Joachim Barchmann, as well as MPs Iris Eberl and Detlef Muller.
Krichbaum on Schengen: Romania meets technical criteria, yet border guards accepting bribes may still exist
Romania meets the technical criteria to join the Schengen Area, said on Friday the chairman of the Commission for European Affairs of the Bundestag, Gunther Krichbaum, yet questioned the usefulness of a technically well secured border if border guards who accept bribes and let buses with refugees pass exist.
“In principle, Romania’s position as regards this issue is not wrong. It’s been said that as long as the technical criteria are met, Romania should join the Schengen Area, and for some time now Romania does meet these technical criteria. But, it is to be said that the Schengen Area is not hung somewhere in imponderability (…) To what purpose a technically well secured, faultless border if there are border guards who, in exchange for some benefits, for money, let pass, let’s say, buses (…) with refugees?” Krichbaum told a press conference in Bucharest.
He explained that Schengen is an area of freedom, of security.
“We, in the European Commission should ask ourselves if the fight against corruption is that advanced that a green light could be given to this joining process,” the German official added.
As for the refugees, Gunther Krichbaum voiced for a fair distribution of them within the European Union, showing that Germany could not solve this crisis on its own.
“We want rapprochement with Moldova, but the country is still in grip of oligarchs”
President of the European Affairs Committee of the Bundestag Gunther Krichbaum stated on Friday that Germany wants a rapprochement with Moldova, but that the path will be a lengthy one because “the country is still in the hands of oligarchs.”
The situation in Moldova is difficult, Krichbaum stated in a press conference in Bucharest. We want the country to move closer to European structures, like Georgia and Ukraine. The three countries are part of the Eastern partnership. (…) In what regards Moldova, we do want a rapprochement with Moldova through the Eastern Partnership, but the path will be a long one and this is because the country is still in the hands of oligarchs. Like Ukraine, Moldova has the additional problem of frozen conflicts in Transnistria and Gagauzia. (…) This does not mean that we are giving up on Moldova, Krichbaum added.
Krichbaum also pointed out that Moldova is in a precarious economic situation and the money of the oligarchs could be invested for the benefit of its own citizens.
From an economic point of view, Moldova finds itself in a precarious situation. Moreover, it also suffers due to frailty at a political level. For these reasons, it is a challenge for us to try and stabilize Moldova and especially in Romania this is of great interest. We do not want to allow ourselves to loose Moldova. That is why, in Moldova’s case, the influence and the power of the oligarchs must be diminished. These people (…) own more money that the bilateral aid granted by Romania, that is why I believe it is preferable that the money be invested for the benefit of its own citizens, rather than wait for support from other countries, such as Romania, the German official explained.