Premier Dacian Ciolos said on Friday that Romania’s development requires a deep reform of the state, the renewal of the political class and a Constitution that reflects the democratic lessons and experiences and the society’s real consensus on the citizens’ rights and freedoms.
“In 2018, Romania will celebrate the centennial of the Great Union. These 100 years meant dramatic cycles of transition from totalitarianism to democracy, from wars and deep crisis to NATO and EU integration. If we want Romania to grow, if we want Romania to develop, we need in-depth reform of the state, we need a profound renewal of the political class, new principles we commit to as a society. (…) We need a debate of substance to produce an adjusted Fundamental Law that institutionally reflects the democratic lessons and experiences we have already gone through as a state, and that reflects in substance the real consensus of the society on the rights and freedoms we want to enjoy and we all deserve as citizens,” Ciolos told the festive meeting of the Constitutional Court of Romania on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of 1866 and of the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the 1991 Constitution.
In the Prime Minister’s opinion, “for 150 years the Constitution has been Romania’s landmark set in stone for the functioning of the rule of law, of the political and legal system.”
Ciolos said that the independence of justice is among the most important principles enshrined in the Constitution. “It’s what we must protect and secure through all our institutional or political actions,” the Premier said.
Another principle enshrined in the Fundamental Law refers to the citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms, the Premier went on.
“Today’s anniversary of the Fundamental Law has a double dimension: one that concerns Romania’s creation and consolidation as a state, the other concerning the re-creation of Romania in the post-communist stage – they both share an important element: Romania’s democratic roadmap. A roadmap that was not linear. We’ve equally been through turbulent times and through times of clarity and construction. It’s our duty to stay on this democratic course. And it’s the Fundamental Law that provides us the necessary direction and balance,” said Dacian Ciolos.
According to him, Romania is currently “a regional pole of stability and democratic values, of economic growth.”
“It’s our duty to continue on this course, to turn these guarantees into concrete added value for the Romanian state and for its citizens,” he underscored.
Dacian Ciolos mentioned that Romania is “on the brink of a maturity test as a state” – the centennial anniversary of the Romanian state and its taking over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2019.
“The good news (…) is that we have a very solid base. The democratic system of post-revolutionary Romania is well established as far as the guidelines are concerned. (…) As a state, we are in the happy situation where we can adjust an already solid discussion, to do the fine tuning for effective balance, mutual accountability and loyal cooperation between powers, for effective fundamental rights and freedoms,” added the Prime Minister.
Ciolos pointed out that the current context is not simple at all.
“To do this fine-tuning, to ensure the necessary constitutional levers for the implementation of the country project, we need a change of method, a change in the way we debate public subjects. The fact that we have different views, different positions is absolutely normal in democratic pluralism, but democratic debate is not that where the majority exclusively prevails over the minority, where it’s either my viewpoint or nothing else. In my view, democratic debate is that where we listen, not just hear each other, where a common viewpoint emerges, a viewpoint enriched with the other’s perspective,” said Ciolos.
Dorneanu: Constitution amendments should respond to core socio-historical needs, not just simply opportunity expediencies
The president of the Constitutional Court, Valer Dorneanu, considers that amendments to the fundamental law should be thoroughly grounded, and answer some core sociohistorical needs and not just some simple opportunity grounds.
“25 years from the adoption of the Constitution in 1991 we have to acknowledge that we have a stable, consolidated Constitution, including through constitutionality control. As regards inherent amendments, these have to be thoroughly grounded, they have to respond to core sociohistorical needs and not just opportunity expediencies. This anniversary should not be regarded as a simple historical evocation. It should have more substantial meaning and it must ingrain in the soul and conscience of everyone it addresses to, the holy duty to respect and protect the Constitution, as an essential condition for the existence, development and perennity of Romania,” Dorneanu said at the CCR festivities occasioned by the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of 1866 and the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the 1991 Constitution.
He underscored that it is unacceptable for the Constitution to be “questioned” in a state of law, not even by senior public servants.
“Referring to the role and importance of the fundamental law, we consider that it is inconceivable that in a state of law the Constitution be contested, questioned, undervalued, often by senior public servants. In this regard, the decisions of the constitutional court delivered in time on revision initiatives have marked the limits to amending the Constitution. (…) We should always remember that the oath of public servants takes from the content of article 1 paragraph 1 of the Constitution the main values of the Romanian state – defending the sovereignty, the independence as well as the unitary and indivisible character of Romania,” pointed out Dorneanu.