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February 25, 2021

JusMin Pruna: Justice before and after EU accession, like Cinderella before and after ball

Justice Minister Raluca Pruna told an interview to Agerpres that the difference between the pre-EU-accession justice and the present one is like the difference between Cinderella before the ball night and the Princess-Cinderella on the night of the ball.

“In the pre-accession period, Romania’s justice was same as in very many countries of the former communist bloc. I believe that Romania’s chance, same as of other new member states, is that in this accession process they had the opportunity, they were forced, in the pre-accession process, to revise the entire legislation. At the end of this road we had a legislative framework which corresponded to the most modern standards in the Union at that moment, at the accession moment. Almost ten years after the accession, this legislative framework is paying results, in the sense that we have institutions that enforce this legislative framework. Therefore… I would say the the difference between the pre-EU-accession justice and the present one is like the difference between Cinderella before the ball night and the Princess-Cinderella on the night of the ball,” the Justice Minister said.

In the same interview, Raluca Pruna mentions financing as a constant problem of the judicial system in Romania.

In respect to the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), the Justice Minister mentions that the strong points are the fight against corruption, the manner in which the legal system works, the prosecutor’s offices, the High Court.

“The point which we must work on – and when I say ‘we’ I mean us, as a society – at Parliament level, which I believe has a problem of relating to the CVM. Therefore I don’t believe there are content problems, but a problem with relating to the mechanism as such,” Pruna says.

About Parliament’s rejecting the prosecutors’ requests on lifting the immunity of dignitaries, Raluca Pruna believes that the lack of predictability must be avoided, bringing to mind that there have been situations in which two requests were sent on the same day, with one approved and one denied.

The Justice Minister also mentioned the procedure on appointing the heads of prosecution offices and possible proposals to modify it.


Pruna says she will not be part of a gov’t after parliamentary elections


Justice Minister Raluca Pruna told Agerpres that she would not stay in a government after the parliamentary elections, as she believes that politics is to be done through parties.

“No, I have said that I have left a career, that I have come with much love for the country that shaped up my profession, however I believe that politics is done through political parties. (…) My answer is definite: I will not stay in a government after the elections [the parliamentary elections],” the minister says in reply to a question on whether she would accept to be part of a new government, after the parliamentary elections.

Raluca Pruna also maintains that in case her activity no longer corresponds to the mandate this government has, she would not hesitate to step back.

“If at any point it turns out that what I do, if the prime minister considers that what I do no longer corresponds to the mandate this government has, I shall not hesitate to step back. In fact, I take being a minister as a great privilege, I am trying to do my best, in a short time. I have made efforts, (…) but I reiterate: if it turns out that I must go, I will go. I have come from a career and I will go back to that career, I have no other agenda than that of common sense and the good functioning in the area I am dealing with now, feeling greatly honoured,” the Justice Minister points out.

In respect to the turnout to the June 5 ballot, Raluca Pruna says it is a shame it was low and that there is youth completely disinterested in politics.

“It is a shame, especially since I know, maybe like all of us, in my circle there are many young people who have a very wholesome life, (…) and who cannot name the parties in this country. There are people under 30, who have a life, a career, and are completely disinterested in politics. (…) Their not being interested in the political life is something we should meditate on,” the Justice Minister underscores.

In respect to the attacks on the judicial system and the fact that justice was a campaign topic, she underlined that the institution in charge with defence is the Superior Council of Magistrates, which is the guarantor of justice independence. Raluca Pruna said that she wants political debate to be a debate on ideas and not involving justice.

“As a minister, I most certainly wish that the political debate be a debate on ideas which should not involve justice. …We should not cast a shadow of doubt on the entire profession, because such doubts are very difficultly corrected, which the public might have in respect to the judicial system in one country. Also, this doubt can also cross borders, you know. We are in the European Union and it is natural to want to have foreign investments. And I wonder: what kind of foreign investment do we want if we, Romanians, say that we have a judicial system that is not independent, that we have a police state? And then I shall never grow tired of saying the obvious – Romania is a member state, it is, as such, a rule of law state, in which all rights are guaranteed. There are some slight slippages, but we are not a police state, we are a safe state, we are in a partnership with the United States, therefore there are all the guarantees there are in absolutely any western democracy. What we must learn is maybe an easier exercise or an easier implementing of the democratic procedures,” Justice Minister Pruna also said in the interview.

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