President Klaus Iohannis declared on Tuesday evening in Strasbourg that he discussed with the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) President, the President of Venice Commission and Secretary General of the Council of Europe about the projects regarding the amnesty and pardon, adding that he clearly understood that pressure or a 80-million Euro fine on ECHR’s behalf for the conditions in Romanian prisons are out of the question.
“It is obvious that given the context in which at home discussion are on the two projects, I have also discussed these issues with the ECHR President, the President of the Venice Commission and the Secretary General (e.n. of the Council of Europe). Everybody is asking “what is going on in your country”, but considering that at home there have been rumors about a possible ECHR decision, possible fines, I have taken the discussion in that direction and I am pleased that I was clarified and I can in my turn clarify some things, not juridical, but about procedure. This pilot decision will be drafted and made public in the first half of 2017 and it will refer to the situation in Romanian prisons, but from here onward, things must be looked at with optimism and realism, it will be shown what is not functioning, where the problems are, a generous deadline will be given so that we can find solutions in Romania. The next step would be to find at home, probably under the coordination of the Justice Minister, a package of measures to improve the situation in Romania’s prisons,” said President Iohannis.
“Pardon is just a possible solution, a small part of the whole package that we must draw up. Another part of the solution could be a procedure through which convicts can complain in Romania about their situation and solutions or compensatory measures can be found. There is no pressure from ECHR, things are well prepared, they are reasonable, and will be placed at Romania’s disposal, and as for sanctions or fines, that is out of the question for now. There will be no sanction for Romania. (…) I can clearly tell you that there is no such thing and there will be no fine. Fines are not given in bulk,” further said the head of the state.
“I’m not worried for democracy in Romania, although we have big problems”
President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday night assessed that he is not worried for democracy in Romania, although we have problems.
“I’m not worried for democracy in Romania. It is a living democracy, with debates, fights. The debate culture to us was not quite on first place, in particular in the communist period, when we were asked to stay silent and debate nothing. Somehow this approach has reached the recent times, yet we recover slowly but surely, from fights we somehow get to the debates, from debates to ideas. I’m certain that things will get better, and yet this doesn’t mean that we should behave like we have no problems. We do have big problems. What the citizens cannot do, the politicians must do, by finding solutions. Sometimes, before it gets better, it must be worse. I’m afraid this is the stage we are witnessing right now,” said the head of state at a meeting with the Romanian staff working for the Economic Commission’s structures and the representatives of the Romanian community in Alsace.
He said he is very happy and pleased that he reached Strasbourg, at the Council of Europe.
“It is a noted institution that was a real gain for Romania during the last 24 years of membership. I don’t believe that anybody is an alien to the political debates in Romania around the rule of law, be they declared or not,” said the president.
President Iohannis has mentioned that the Strasbourg institutions have been and remain Romania’s guides in the rule of law.
“What we need to do is to prove that the Romanian democracy not only turned a certain age, but it is on its way to growing up,” he added.