Hoyt Brian Yee, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs with the US Department of State, held on Thursday an interactive lecture for students and professors at southeastern Constanta’s Ovidius University (UOC), in which he highlighted the value of the concept of rule of law, of market economy and democracy and the importance of the US – Romania Strategic Partnership.
The US diplomat explained the significance of the rule of law in direct correlation with the free market system.
“Why do we consider the rule of law so important? Firstly, for economic reasons. To increase trade and investment, companies need stability and predictability, the rule of law, they need good laws fairly and transparently enforced. We want Romania to be more prosperous, attractive for foreign direct investment. The European countries having a reputation for strengthening the rule of law have a strong economy. Countries known for a penchant for corruption and a weak rule of law tend to have weak savings,” said the US official.
Hoyt Yee also spoke about the accountability valences in the relations among the partner states, seen as a guarantee of adopted commitments.
We must know that our allies are willing to meet their commitments to mutual defense, but also to sustain shared values – democracy, freedom, rule of law. These values are the foundation which are relationships are built on. The commitment of Romania to the rule of law is a measure of its commitment toward US-Romania relations. The rule of law is a key defense against tyranny, corruption and the foreign malignant influence,” said the speaker.
In his speech, Hoyt Yee highlighted the value of democratic principle in founding the rule of law and law enforcement.
Democracy is safest when the law is applied equally, fairly to everyone, even to high-ranking politicians, and no one is above the law. When the rule of law is weak, corruption and nepotism prosper and leaders focus on personal interests over those of the citizens. When the rule of law is weak and corruption is widespread, foreign players can give bribes, can buy and control politicians, the press, the parties and in extreme cases take over countries without invasion or use of force, warned Hoyt Yee.
The US diplomat stressed in conclusion that Romania has made tremendous progress in strengthening the rule of law in recent years, particularly by prosecuting corruption through law enforcement, through the activity of the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) and of courts.
Nothing is more effective in combating corruption and upholding the law than prosecution, conviction and, when justified, the imprisonment of corrupt officials, specified Hoyt Yee.