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January 21, 2021
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PM Viorica Dancila to be heard by CNCD on Tuesday and then leave for Brussels

Premier Viorica Dancila will be heard on Tuesday by the National Council Combating Discrimination (CNCD), after she said that the Romanian MEPs who disinform are “autistic.” Later that day, she will leave for Brussels where she will pay her first visit in her capacity as PM and will meet the European leaders.

The National Council Combating Discrimination (CNCD) decided to take note about the statement that Prime Minister Dancila Viorica Vasilica made in an interview for Antena3, on the evening of 15 February 2018, a statement whose content was as follows: “I believe these people are autistic and they don’t see and hear what’s visible for all those of good faith.” In the same case, the CNCD will also hear Mihai Gadea, the moderator of the Antena3 talk-show in which the statement was made.

“The Council will hear the Prime Minister on February 20. In this case, the moderator of that show, Mr Mihai Gadea, will also be subpoenaed. Based on the legal procedure, the CNCD will analyse in this case the behaviour of the moderator too, from the standpoint of the committal of a potential act of discrimination through infringement upon the right to human dignity enjoyed by persons with autism,” the CNCD informs.

On Friday, Premier Viorica Dancila apologised – via a press release – for the statement she made on Thursday evening.

After the hearings, Viorica Dancila will travel to Brussels, on her first visit abroad, where she will meet European leaders.

“On Tuesday and Wednesday, I will be in Brussels. I’ll meet the President of the European Commission, Mr Juncker, the President of the Council, Mr Tusk, the President of the European Parliament, Mr Tajani, and, of course, I’ll meet Mrs Corina Cretu, the Romanian Commissioner for Regional Policy. As I said, (…) I want to boost the governance’s European dimensions and I believe this is the first step. I want a much better relationship with the leaders of European institutions, because we are in store for an important period for the European Union, and I believe it’s very good to be able to sit at the negotiating table when the future of Europe is being discussed, when important policies at European level are being sketched, and I’m talking about the cohesion policy and the common agricultural policy that is so important for Romania,” Viorica Dancila stated on Thursday, on Antena3.

In fact, Viorica Dancila’s predecessors – Sorin Grindeanu and Mihai Tudose – also chose to pay their first visits abroad to Brussels at the start of their mandates, to meet European leaders.

 

CNCD President: Opinionmakers, be they politicians or journalists, should retire from public life if they make discriminatory statements

 

CNCD President Csaba Asztalos stated on Friday, for Digi24, that in a functional democracy opinionmakers – be they politicians or journalists – should retire from public life if they make discriminatory statements. He said he cannot prejudge the notification concerning Premier Viorica Dancila’s statement, but the CNDC will speedily carry out the legal procedure.

Csaba Asztalos pointed out that, in what concerns the situation of children with autism, the CNCD received a series of complaints regarding their access to mass education, fines being issued and lawsuits being won.

“I confirm the difficult reality that children with autism face in what concerns access to education and access to healthcare,” the CNCD President said.

Asked why he believes politicians use the term “autistic” in a negative sense, Asztalos said: “I’d blame it on a lack of culture and lack of rigour and responsibility when making public statements.”

The CNCD President emphasised that the effects of a public discourse that applies labels and stigma are especially negative for schoolchildren.

“As a parent and as CNCD President, indeed, children with disabilities are exposed to verbal and behavioural stigmatisation in society and especially in the school environment,” he emphasised.

In what concerns the way such a discourse can be censured, Csaba Asztalos said: “I believe we must reach a level in which opinionmakers, be they politicians or journalists, should retire from public life when they make discriminatory statements. This is the effective censure in a functional democratic society.”

Asked whether, in these conditions, he considers Premier Viorica Dancila should step down, the CNCD President answered: “You know well that I cannot prejudge a case. (…) We will speedily carry out the legal procedure and we will issue a solution in due time.”

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