President Klaus Iohannis has started on Tuesday a new round of consultations with the parliamentary parties on a new package of national security laws. The first delegation received by the head of state was the Social Democratic Party’s (PSD) delegation, that was headed by party chairman Liviu Dragnea . PSD executive chairman Valeriu Zgonea, deputy chairmen Mihai Tudose a, Georgian Pop, and former communications minister Sorin Grindeanu took part in the discussions on behalf of the social democrats.
Moreover, presidential advisers Simina Tanasescu, Mihaela Ciochina, Laurentiu Stefan and Ion Oprisor also participate in the consultations.
Before the start of the consultations, Liviu Dragnea asked the journalists if they have prepaid phone cards and when they answered in the negative, Dragnea jokingly advised them: “Very bad, get them while you still can.”
After the consultations with the PSD representatives, the head of state discussed with the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) representatives.
The PNL delegation was made up of co-chairs Alina Gorghiu and Vasile Blaga, secretary general Ilie Bolojan, first deputy chairman Catalin Predoiu and spokesman Ionut Stroe.
The UDMR delegation consisted of Kelemen Hunor, Marko Bela, Verestoy Attila, Mate Andras Levente and Tanczos Barna.
The consultations on the national security legislation will continue on Wednesday with representatives of the National Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR), the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) and national minorities.
PSD’s Dragnea: Maybe we manage to pass prepaid card legislation this parliamentary session
National leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Liviu Dragnea said that PSD is ready to take part on the drawing up of a legislative package that includes an anti-terror law, a law on prepaid cards and a cybersecurity law, so that the package may pass this parliamentary session.
“Mr President told us that the prime minister informed him the Government is working on the three bills that will be then submitted to Parliament for debates. We told the President and are telling the prime minister as well (…) that we want to be proactive, and that two of our colleagues are ready to actually take part in the ongoing drawing up of the bills so as to gain time. Maybe we will manage to pass these three important bills this parliamentary session,” Dragnea said at the end of national security law consultations between President Klaus Iohannis and the PSD.
Gorghiu: PNL agrees to participate in parliamentary committee on national security legislation
The National Liberal Party (PNL) will be part of the working committee to be established in Parliament for fresh legislation on national security, Liberal co-chair Alina Gorghiu said, after party consultations with President Klaus Iohannis.
“The most important conclusion we reached in the talks and consultations we have just finished with the President is that we need to update the legislation, that this updating and adjustment cannot be done at the initiative of just one parliamentary group, we have previously failed this way. (…) Each time this important decision to change the legislation is exclusively assumed by one political party the result is the failure in promoting this legislation, that is why the PNL delegation agreed to participate together with representatives of other parliamentary parties in the committee that will draw up the new legislation. We want a balance between the observance of private life, rights and liberties of citizens in Romania and the need of security of the Romanian state and of each and every citizen of Romania,” Alina Gorghiu said.
She showed that in May the Government will come up with a legislative initiative regarding anti-terrorism, prepaid phone cards and cyber security.
Gorghiu added that PNL wants a much stronger parliamentary control on the intelligence services of Romania.
In turn, PNL co-chair Vasile Blaga said that PNL will appoint two MPs to the committee on the national security legislation, who will also be part of the future legislature, so that this committee may seamlessly continue its activity.
Blaga too voiced support for a single parliamentary committee concerning control on intelligence services.
The Liberal leader underscored that the legislation on national security must be drawn up by the Government, by all the ministries involved, pointing out that in his opinion, it wouldn’t be good for the party representatives to participate in drawing up national security laws.
Hungarian ethnic party leader criticizes lack of control on intelligence services
Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) Chairman Hunor Kelemen called for reconsideration of the control on the intelligence services, pointing out that some of them are currently under no control at all.
“The civil control, the parliamentary control must be real and there shouldn’t be any area, at the National Defence Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism or the National Anticorruption Directorate, where there is technique, where intelligence work is carried out, without parliamentary control. At present, only the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) and the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) are under parliamentary control. The quality of this control is debatable, whether it is a real control or not. These laws were issued many years ago, the situation is obsolete, and solutions must be found to place under civil control or under real parliamentary control all that means intelligence service and intelligence work,” Kelemen said at the end of the UDMR consultations with President Iohannis.
He showed that a real control of the said services is needed and asserted that at present the parliamentary control over SRI and SIE is rather formal.
According to him, from the UK, to Italy and Germany there are many models of a “real civil control,” the best solution for Romania needing to be sought, without restraining rights and liberties.
In context, referring to the prepaid mobile phone cards, he said that UDMR will support solving this matter, on condition that a solution meaning the protection of personal data is found.
On the other hand, the UDMR leader also spoke of the relation between majority and the Hungarian minority, saying that it must be based on trust.
President Iohannis after political consultations: Balance important in national security legislation
President Klaus Iohannis says that national security requires an updated and coherent legal framework; he pointed out the importance of keeping a balance in the process of improving the relevant legislation.
“We have had today the first round of consultations with the parties on national security legislation. An updated and coherent legal framework is needed and I have found that the leaders of the political I met share the same opinion. In the process of improving legislation, it is important for us to keep balance, not to lose rights and freedoms, and not jeopardize the safety of citizens either,” the President wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.