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January 24, 2022

Romania MEPs concerned about EP resolution on Romanian rule of law. What effects its adoption may have

MEPs are concerned about the European Parliament resolution on Romanian rule of law, which will be debated in November. A delay in Euro Area accession and the deterioration of Romania’s image in the European Union are among the effects listed by them.

MEP Daniel Buda (PNL) explained for MEDIAFAX what the EP resolution on Romanian rule of law and judiciary entails. The Liberal pointed out that, in general, EP resolutions are adopted to warn about the EU member state’s backsliding from the European Union’s principles and values.

“From a formal standpoint, the effects of such a resolution are to publicly warn the member state about its backsliding from the principles and values of the EU. Certainly, in what concerns Romania, even though from a technical standpoint we are ready to accede to the Euro Area and the Schengen Area, from a political standpoint there are many questions raised. Obviously, PSD-ALDE manages to distance us far too much from the Euro Area and the Schengen Area,” MEP Daniel Buda stated for MEDIAFAX.

Asked whether the resolution could result in Romania failing to accede to the Euro Area and Schengen Area, Daniel Buda pointed out that the resolution may result in “the delaying of these procedures, not in losing them.”

The Liberal stated that such a resolution on Romania being debated at European level is no reason for joy and that he expects a harsh answer following the Justice Minister’s announcement regarding the dismissal from office of Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar.

“The debating of such a motion on Romania at the European Parliament is not a reason for joy. Unfortunately, the actions of the Government, including the recent ones, and I’m mostly referring to the dismissal of Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar, have resulted in this resolution being imposed on the European agenda. The resolution will be very harsh from this standpoint. What demonstrates PSD-ALDE’s inability to understand the film they are in is the dismissal of Mr Lazar, against the backdrop in which, based on the information I have, his term would have expired in April. Such an undertaking was not justified. Such behaviour on their part shows profound contempt toward all the discussions that took place in Brussels. Such gestures eventually lead to the weakening of the Romanians’ confidence, including in what the European institutions mean,” Buda added.

Likewise, the MEP claimed that EP resolutions usually include recommendations, not sanctions.

MEP Maria Grapini has stated that if such an EP resolution on Romanian rule of law and judiciary is adopted the country will stand to lose, including in terms of public relations.

“Whether a resolution for Romania will be adopted or not will be discussed during the last meeting of the presidents of the political groups, which will take place the week before the plenary. There is still the possibility of dropping the resolution. As you know, the resolution is not a regulation – which is binding – nor a directive. The resolution is a warning that the European Parliament conveys to the European Council, which must analyse and adopt sanctions (or not)! If there is a resolution, it will once again be on the recommendation to observe the recommendations of the Venice Commission, the checks and balances (for which they have as evidence only the recent protocols unmasked by the current Government). We will lose PR-wise, because it will be complicated to explain, both inside and outside, why there is a resolution. There can’t be sanctions because there are no levers to issue sanctions. However, indirectly there can be consequences. For instance, once again we won’t be able to host some European agency – we lost the last one that moved out of the United Kingdom!” Maria Grapini stated for MEDIAFAX.

She also said that the EP resolution on Romania will not be similar to those adopted on Poland or Hungary, states that were censured for failure to observe European provisions.

“The resolution on Romania – if there will be one – can have no resemblance to that on Poland (which did not observe the decisions of the Constitutional Court), nor to that on Hungary, which did not observe the Schengen decisions on migration, or the rights and freedoms of expression by closing universities and publications,” Grapini added.

Asked whether the resolution will affect Romania’s Euro Area and Schengen Area accession, Maria Grapini said:

“Accession to the Euro Area depends on technical things – nominal and real convergence; Romania could end up meeting the criteria considering the economic growth of recent years, the macroeconomic balance and the observance of the deficit of up to 3 percent. However, the Executive must have a concerted programme with the BNR. Concerning the Schengen Area – it has no connection to a potential resolution, because there is already an EP resolution adopted last year, there is also a European Commission letter to the European Council, asking that Romania and Bulgaria be included in the Schengen Area. We will see whether President Iohannis, who represents us within the European Council, will be able to persuade the Heads of State and Government to vote. After all, the power of a national leader is visible in the big things and decisions he can influence!” the MEP concluded.

In his turn, MEP Ioan Mircea Pascu (PSD) believes that the resolution will not introduce sanctions and that there is no reason for the European Parliament to insist with this motion.

“I can’t tell what’s left of this, things will be discussed within LIBE, the Committee for Liberties. I can’t tell what decision will be taken. I don’t believe [there will be sanctions]. After the visit, the discussion with the President, which was very calm, orderly, there really is no reason to insist with this issue, but we’re about to see,” MEP Ioan Pascu (PSD) stated for MEDIAFAX.

The Social Democratic MEP claimed that the resolution does not affect accession to the Euro Area and Schengen Area, these being different issues.

“It doesn’t, certainly not, these are two different things. It would have been desirable to manage to meet the economic conditions sooner, to join the Euro Area faster, but these are separate conditions pertaining to economic criteria. Otherwise, anything is possible. If the Dutch have artificially linked the Schengen with the corruption situation, even though this link does not exist, it means anything can be linked to anything,” Pascu said.

Referring to the statements of the Opposition, according to which the EP resolution on Romanian rule of law will be harsh, following the announcement concerning the dismissal of the Prosecutor General, the MEP said that “the Opposition is always coming up with new criticism.”

“Until now it was about the August 10 protests, now it’s harsh because the Prosecutor General is being dismissed. I have a question: what would happen if – God forbid – Mr Augustin Lazar were to become unable to lead the Prosecutor General’s Office, what would happen then? Would Europe come and appoint someone, what would the Opposition do? Cemeteries are full of irreplaceable people,” Ioan Mircea Pascu stated for MEDIAFAX.

According to the agenda published on the European Parliament’s website, the EP’s plenary meeting, which will take place in Strasbourg, on November 14, from 12.30 to 2.30 p.m., includes a motion to adopt a resolution on rule of law in Romania.

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