Chairman of the Romanian Senate Calin Popescu-Tariceanu on Monday met visiting European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Vera Jourova, whom he told that the report on Romania’s progress with judiciary reform under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) is unbalanced and has numerous errors.
“I told Mrs Vera Jourova what I had publicly stated that in my opinion the CVM report is unbalanced and has numerous errors – as in fact the justice minister and other organisational players also pointed out. I told her that the way in which the report is worded as imperiously urging Parliament to take certain actions violates both the freedom of the MPs and the independence of Parliament as an organisation, which is unacceptable in any parliamentary democracy. Let me be clear: the CVM report mentions the need for the law codes to be modified, but only on suggestions from the Government agreed upon with the justice system. Such wording is totally lacking that foreshadows other serious gaps in the report and the way in which the report reflects the situation in Romania,” Tariceanu is quoted in a Senate press statement as having said at the end of the meeting.
He added that he underscored that the report contains some moving targets, that there are no fixed criteria, which once met will allow lifting the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism.
“We also discussed (…) the rule of law. I pointed out that this component of the fight against corruption is necessary and that the positive results thereof are a joy to me, but positive results are no excuse for the operation of the rule of law. And I mean here televised justice, the way in which the accused are walked before the public handcuffed, which violates human dignity. These are things also recently mentioned by the European Parliament as unacceptable practices,” added Tariceanu.
‘We have come to see a paralysed administration’
He said they also discussed the leakage of information from ongoing court cases, which annihilate the presumption of innocence while turning the accused into guilty.
Tariceanu also pointed out that “the intelligence services have extended their tactical coverage to courts.”
According to Tariceanu, administration was also discussed in his conversation with Jourova.
“We have come to see a paralysed administration – I told the European Commissioner so and I have seen the remark of Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos to this end – with public servants refusing to sign, looking at projects on European funds because nobody has the courage to sign any more lest they will be investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) the next day. This should raise big question marks and I find it fair for the European partners to also see these serious problems that we do not have to hide, besides noting the good things. Since we have no interest in concealing corruption, I believe we have no interest in concealing the other problems facing us as well,” said Tariceanu.
He added that Jourova knows these things very well, given her involvement in a similar history.
“She better understands this given her involvement into a similar history to what is happening in Romania. She was among arrested MPs and after being imprisoned for a long time the court found her not guilty. But her political career, her personality and her profile took a blow. In this entire discussion I am suggesting to the Romanian society, many people are tempted to see the problem thinking exclusively about politicians. Politicians are some of those who, like the other citizens, should have the right to their own image and dignity,” the Senate further quotes Tariceanu as saying.
Asked about the conclusions of his meeting with Jourova, Tariceanu said, “Do not you expect a European Commissioner to say ‘yes, sir, I’ll do it’. She took note of things, she will investigate and in fact the conversations are for mutual information; the commissioners do not come here to make decisions as things happen at an enterprise where decision are made after meetings.”
European Commissioner Jourova: Romania, great supporter of EPPO
European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Vera Jourova on Monday praised Romania’s support for the establishment of a European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) – an institution specialising in combating corruption and fraud in European finance.
At a news conference at the European Commission Representation in Bucharest, she said the EU is preparing a new institution to fight against corruption and fraud in European finance, and Romania has always been a staunch supporter of such institution, therefore she wanted to discuss the current developments in the project.
She pointed out that the European Public Prosecutor’s Office is going to deal with retrieving European funds, underscoring that the taxpayers’ confidence is also one of the concerns.
She said that does not only concern money, it also concerns the people’s confidence because statistics show millions of euros have been stolen or have vanished through corruption, and people have clear reasons to want the money back, because it’s their money, it’s taxpayers’ money. I know , she said, Romania has established a claim recovery agency, which will depend on the right investigation of corruption and fraud cases. Therefore, the efficient operation of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) and of other prosecution offices is exactly the reason for which we strongly advocate the adoption of a viable model for the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, as we are talking about retrieving European funds, said Jourova.
Vera Jourova: This year, we shall continue to monitor situation here
European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Vera Jourova on Monday said the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) will be kept in 2016, as the recently released report includes both progress registered by Romania and things that still need to be worked on.
“I know that the prime minister and other representatives proposed the gradual reduction, that would lead to the completion of the CVM. I shall not comment upon this aspect now, I only want to say that this year we shall continue to monitor the situation here and next year a decision will be made whether to continue this mechanism or choose another instrument to monitor the situation in Romania,” Jourova said at the European Commission Representation in Bucharest.