Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated on Wednesday before Parliament that the GRECO Report has been turned into a political topic that attracts a lot of media coverage and features many “inaccuracies,” pointing out he was warned to publish the report as soon as he received it because otherwise it would mean he has something to hide. Likewise, he said he talked with GRECO experts and they did not convince him that they live up, professionally speaking, to the contents of the report.
Tudorel Toader was summoned in Parliament by the National Liberal Party (PNL), to explain the report drafted by the Council of Europe’s Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO).
In April, the Council of Europe’s Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) published a report on Romania. In it, GRECO expressed its deep concern about certain aspects of the laws that Parliament passed on the statute of judges and prosecutors, judicial organisation and the Supreme Magistracy Council, and about the proposed amendments to criminal legislation.
“Unfortunately, the GRECO Report has been transformed into a political topic that attracts lots of media coverage and features far too many inaccuracies. (…) On the day the report was released, I was warned to immediately publish it. If I did not, I definitely had something to hide. This warning came almost simultaneously from a certain platform, from an association, from a lady that was Justice Minister, and from another lady whose name I prefer not to reveal publicly. It’s regrettable that the authors of the “warning” do not know the GRECO procedure, and it’s also regrettable if they do know it and they tendentiously presented it,” Toader said.
Toader said that the report is “the exclusive work of GRECO experts,” but that he nevertheless talked with them in Bucharest and they did not convince him that “they live up to the level of the contents of the report” from a professional standpoint.
“With the encouragement to keep the dignity of legislating, in line with the national specificity, with the national interest, while observing constitutional standards, European standards, I express the hope that the GRECO Report is the exclusive work of GRECO experts, a report based on correct fact-finding, without potential contributions coming from the national space. I express this hope starting off from a reality that I noticed and I’m only going to say this: I personally talked with the GRECO experts, at the ministry; they didn’t convince me that, professionally, they live up to the level of the contents of the report,” the Justice Minister explained.
He also said that the GRECO Repot is “non-binding” and GRECO experts cannot override “the will of the national lawmaker.”
“These concerns from the GRECO Report overlap what the CCR has established. The CCR has established that the setting up of the special section (to investigate magistrates – editor’s note) is in line with the Constitution. The GRECO Report is a guide, it is non-binding. It establishes the European standards, but the GRECO expert categorically cannot override the will of the national lawmaker, verified by the CCR, which established that the regulation is in line with the Constitution,” Tudorel Toader concluded.
What the representatives of parliamentary groups declared at the debates
PSD’s Cazanciuc: I don’t understand why PNL decided to waste valuable time criticising the judicial laws, considering that this was an eminently parliamentary process
Social Democratic Party (PSD) Senator Robert Cazanciuc stated on Wednesday, during the debate in Parliament, that he does not understand why the Liberals decided to waste time criticising the judicial laws when the minister could have been asked about other topics from his agenda and from the governance programme.
“I don’t understand why the PNL decided to waste valuable time criticising the judicial laws, when this was an eminently parliamentary process. We can, legitimately, discuss with the minister the plan on investments in courts, the judicial careers, the electronic dossier, and many other things that are on his agenda and in the governance programme. I believe the role of today’s debate is to sound the alarm for our European partners that they have managed to internalise manipulative practices, by analysing, in the report, texts that are not politically assumed, modified in Parliament, or by wilfully ignoring opinions that differ from the truth known beforehand by experts. Romania has joined the European structures in good will after 1990, in the hope that we will develop harmoniously. To end up being criticised today (…) without any reference to concrete data… it seems we are reverting to 1989,” Robert Cazanciuc said.
USR: The conclusion was that the legislative process was profoundly vitiated by PSD-ALDE’s suspicious haste
Save Romania Union (USR) Senator Vlad Alexandrescu claims that the ruling power avoided the Venice Commission because an independent international assessment in the judicial field “will reveal the undermining of the rule of law.”
“Now we better understand why the ruling power’s representatives so staunchly dodged notifying the Venice Commission; because they know that any independent international assessment of their bills in the judicial field will reveal the undermining of the rule of law and of the independence of the judiciary on the part of PSD-ALDE. GRECO’s conclusion was that the legislative process was profoundly vitiated by the PSD-ALDE coalition’s suspicious haste,” Alexandru said.
Tariceanu: Fight against corruption is a campaign the likes of those carried out in the 1950s against the bourgeoisie and landowners
Likewise, Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated that the fight against corruption is a political overture, not a natural one characteristic of the rule of law. He added that the anticorruption fight is a campaign the likes of those carried out in the 1950s against the bourgeoisie and landowners.
“The anticorruption fight idea is a political overture. It is not the natural overture of the rule of law, a real reaction of the rule of law, it’s an organised campaign the likes of the 1950s fight against the bourgeoisie and landowners, against kulaks and so forth. Back then, just like today, the norms of the rule of law were trampled. Today, I would have expected on the part of Opposition representatives at least a single remark on the stage and condition of the Romanian rule of law. Dear colleagues, you are not concerned about the protocols between the Romanian Intelligence Service and the National Anticorruption Directorate? Do you find them natural, normal, are these the traits of the rule of law? I recall a Soviet delegation’s visit to Romania. What were they shouting? Stalin! I get the feeling you are stuck on a broken record that says we should continue the fight against corruption,” said the leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE).