National Liberal Party (PNL) Co-President Alina Gorghiu stated on Monday that the prepaid phone cards law should be discussed in Parliament, after the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) offers a very clear report on their use in the preparing of terrorist attacks in the EU, pointing out that it is not sufficient for the Premier to appear on a television channel.
“Natural in this regional context, which constantly features acts of terrorism that cause multiple victims, is to be able to discuss the improvement of legislation in the domain, but I believe that the topic has to be discussed in Parliament. It’s not sufficient for the Prime Minister to appear on a television channel and announce that certain prepaid phone cards, bought in Romania, were used in acts of terrorism, and it’s not sufficient that SRI answers a television channel’s questions and that’s all,” PNL Co-President Alina Gorghiu stated for Mediafax.
Parliament should receive a clear report from SRI about prepaid phone cards bought in Romania and used in terrorist attacks, Alina Gorghiu stated.
“It would be absolutely normal for Parliament to receive a very clear SRI report on prepaid phone cards bought in Romania and used in Syria, Iraq or any other locations where terrorist acts are carried out, and for lawmakers to be able to discuss, in an informed manner, a legislation that would feature improvements,” Gorghiu said.
The prepaid phone card law should be discussed in Parliament, not at the headquarters of a television station, according to the PNL Co-President.
“I repeat, the place where these things have to be discussed is the Romanian Parliament, not the headquarters of a television channel, and I also believe that we certainly have to take into account the CCR decision, the rights and freedoms of citizens, the right to privacy, to private correspondence, and to find the balance between respecting these rights and the right to feel safe in the Romanian state,” Gorghiu added.
Alina Gorghiu insisted that there has to be a debate on improving legislation in this domain. “Let’s not forget that the prepaid phone cards law, modifying that ordinance that concerned electronic communications, was requested by CSAT, after the attack in Burgas, in 2012, but the draft was voted in Parliament and at the end of 2014 the CCR declared this law unconstitutional overall,” Gorghiu added.
On the other hand, PNL MP Ovidiu Raetchi stated that personally he supports the adoption of the law concerning prepaid phone cards, stating that the recent revelations should determine the Liberals “to stake on SRI.”
“From my point of view, I have already showed all openness and I have expressed my Liberal point of view. Still, I believe the recent revelations concerning the use of prepaid phone cards, bought in Romania, in terrorist attacks in Europe, should determine us to stake on SRI in this domain. Personally, I will support the prepaid phone cards law,” PNL lawmaker Ovidiu Raetchi stated.
Ovidiu Raetchi stated that there is “significant evidence” that could determine PNL to change its stance.
“I believe we will have a debate on this topic, within the party. Personally, I will recommend this to my colleagues. I believe there is significant evidence that we should change our point of view,” Raetchi added.
In his turn, PNL lawmaker Valentin Rusu stated that he is waiting for the party’s decision before he expresses his point of view on the law. “It’s a political decision, the party will probably take it into account. I will have to see the party’s position,” Valentin Rusu stated.
UDMR lawmaker Seres Denes stated that his party will decide, most likely on Tuesday, whether to support the law or not. The lawmaker also stated that since everyone has “transparent” phone subscriptions he does not know why prepaid phone cards should not have the same regime.
On the other hand, PSD and UNPR unhesitatingly support such a law. PSD lawmaker Eugen Bejinariu stated that he will support the adoption of the law, adding that he is convinced that in Parliament there will be a majority in favour of the draft law. “I am someone who militated when the law was discussed within the commission too, I am in favour of adopting the draft law. It’s very normal. Why should you receive phone calls without knowing from whom? I am convinced a parliamentary majority will form, allowing the adoption of the law,” PSD lawmaker Eugen Bejinariu added.
In his turn, UNPR lawmaker Constantin Moisii stated that he will vote in favour of the draft law when it enters the Defence Commission’s debate. “In what concerns me, I agreed the first time around, and I agree now, it seems natural to me. Those who are afraid should not buy prepaid phone cards,” UNPR lawmaker Moisii Constantin stated, adding that he is convinced UNPR will support the adoption of this law.
Macovei: There has to be clearer inventory of prepaid phone cards
MEP Monica Macovei stated for B1TV that there has to be a stricter control of prepaid phone cards and deemed that no European country is safe anymore, and what happened in Paris, Ankara or Brussels do not represent the final acts of terrorism but the opening acts.
“We can discuss whether there should be a stricter inventory of prepaid phone cards… Categorically, there should be! If means to protect personal data, as the Constitutional Court says, are found, why not? We, those of us who have subscriptions, have them based on identity cards, personal identification numbers, so if mobile phone companies who sell subscriptions protect our data, they could just as well protect the personal data of those who buy prepaid phone cards. So there is this possibility,” MEP Monica Macovei stated.
She reminded that in most EU member states one cannot buy prepaid phone cards without an identity card.
Monica Macovei added that some prepaid phone cards from Romania may have been used in the terrorist attacks in Europe.
“Since one could buy, from Romania and from very few other European countries, prepaid phone cards without stating who one is and without using an identity card, of course they can be used either by well-intentioned persons, who have nothing to do with terrorism, but they can be used by persons who engage in terrorism and who communicate without being identified. From what I understood technically, basically they are buying large quantities and use one card per phone and then they discard them,” the MEP pointed out.
She opined that the series of attacks will continue.
“I believe we are not at the end of terrorist attacks. Europe is not safe. No country in Europe is safe. So, neither is Romania. And I believe that what we saw in Paris, Ankara and Brussels were not terrorism’s closing acts, they were opening acts,” Monica Macovei added.
Dacian Ciolos: I wasn’t and never will be an undercover officer
Premier Dacian Ciolos stated on Tuesday, against the backdrop of the debate about prepaid phone cards, that he was not and never will be an undercover officer, and that conspiracy theories should be set aside, there being a need for a public debate on the legislation.
Premier Dacian Ciolos made these statements on Tuesday, before attending ANAF’s review, when asked by journalists about his statements that some prepaid phone cards were allegedly used in preparing terrorist attacks in the EU.
“I was not and will never be an undercover officer,” the Premier stated. He added that all kinds of interpretations were given to his statements and that there is the need for public debate, and conspiracy theories should be set aside. Dacian Ciolos insisted that the law on prepaid phone cards is Parliament’s decision.
Ciolos, new statements about prepaid phone cards
Premier Dacian Ciolos pointed out on Tuesday that when he said that Romanian prepaid phone cards are used in terrorist attacks in European countries he did not have a specific attack in mind. This issue will be regulated through a law that is still being drafted. Likewise, the U.S. embassy pointed out that it is very important for all Romanian authorities involved in this matter to carry out analyses and to jointly choose the best option.
“I said, and I had this information from SRI, that in the preparations for some attacks prepaid phone cards from Romania were also used. I did not say it was in Brussels or somewhere else, because I don’t know this aspect. I believe it is important in Romanian society to get used to discuss orderly and to take decisions in an informed manner. I did not say this or that decision has to be taken. I said we need a debate in Romanian society, with the cards on the table, that’s what I said. I didn’t say it because I am… as I’ve seen some interpretations, that I am an undercover officer for saying that. I was not and will never be, and that’s not why I’m saying certain things. I’m saying it because I believe we have to get well and to leave aside, as far as possible, such conspiracy theory interpretations, that a Prime Minister says some things because he has to promote something hidden,” Dacian Ciolos said.
Likewise, UE embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Dean Thompson stated that the U.S. is expecting Romania to make progress in what concerns respect for the laws.
“The Prime Minister talked about this yesterday, and I believe it is very important for those qualified to work jointly and to decide what they have to do. I won’t get involved in an ongoing debate that concerns Romania’s national security. But, obviously, we are expecting to continue the very close relationship we have with Romania in what concerns making sure laws are respected and to see progress in this regard,” Dean Thompson said.
Tariceanu about Ciolos: It would’ve been better for him to shut up
The Senate Speaker criticized Premier Dacian Ciolos, saying he should have “shut up.”
“It would have been better to shut up. If you don’t have information you don’t talk, unless you want to put Romania in a singular position: Romania, supplier of prepaid phone card for terrorist actions,” Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated.