The non-legislative resolution on the rule of law in Romania was passed on Tuesday by the European Parliament 473 -to- 151 votes and 40 abstentions, a text that affirms the MEPs’ “deep concern” towards the judicial and criminal legislation’s reform in Romania and “condemns the violent and disproportionate intervention of the police forces during the Bucharest protests” in August.
The EP declares itself “deeply concerned with the revision of the judicial and criminal legislation in Romania, especially because of the possibility that it could lead to the structural undermining of the independence of the judicial system and the latter’s capacity to efficiently fight corruption in Romania, as well as to the weakening of the rule of law,” the resolution reads, as drafted by the representatives of the community legislative’s political groups.
Moreover, the document “condemns the violent and disproportionate intervention of the police during the August 2018 protests in Bucharest.”
In addition, the resolution “invites the Romanian authorities to establish safeguards so as to ensure a transparent, legal basis for any kind of institutional cooperation and avoid any interference that is disturbing the balancing and verification mechanisms” and “calls on the strengthening of the parliamentary control over the intelligence services.”
The Eurodeputies “urge the Romanian authorities to counteract any measures that would decriminalise corruption” and “enforce the national anti-corruption strategy”and “strongly recommend the reconsideration of the legislation regarding the financing, organisation and functioning of the NGOs as regards its potential to have an intimidation effect upon the civil society, as well as in contradiction with the principle of the freedom of association and the right to private life and to fully align it” to the EU framework.
Not in the least, the Eurodeputies “urge Parliament and the Government of Romania to fully enforce all the recommendations of the European Commission, the GRECO and of the Venice Commission, and abstain from any reform that would endanger the observance of the rule of law, the judicial system’s independence, included.”
Likewise, the Community legislative “advocates a constant dialogue with the civil society and emphasises that the above-mentioned matters must be approached based on a transparent, inclusive process” and “encourages the request on own accord of the opinions of the Venice Commission regarding the legislative measures in question ahead of their final approval.”
The debate preliminary to the resolution took place on 3 October, in the plenary sitting of the European Parliament, the talks being attended by Prime minister Viorica Dancila and the European Commission’s First Vice President Frans Timmermans.
Reactions after EP Resolution on rule of law
Dragnea: Others are the big topics for Romania
PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated on Tuesday, at the Palace of Parliament, before the CVM report was published and the EP resolution on rule of law in Romania was adopted, that others are “the big topics” for Romania.
“I, as a regular but not humble Romanian, I believe that others are the big topics for Romania. The big topics of these country are, were and will remain aside from any reports and CVMs. We’re talking about healthcare, infrastructure, agriculture, economic development, higher incomes for Romanians, the reform of the great systems, these are the topics we’ve handled and I’ve permanently called on the President, both personally and institutionally, for us to work together, but it was for naught,” PSD leader Liviu Dragnea stated on Tuesday when asked about Romania’s relationship with the EU after the CVM report and the European Parliament resolution.
Toader: I’ll express a point of view after I read the resolution. The minister speaks in the know
Tudorel Toader stated on Tuesday that he cannot express a point of view on the resolution – critical of Romania – that the European Parliament adopted, because he has not read it and wants to speak “in the know,” unlike some public persons.
“After I read the resolution, I’ll express a point of view. Don’t ask me to comment without reading, because in Romania there are very many who believe they know everything. I won’t comment without reading it. The Justice Minister speaks in the know, unlike others who opine and state they will read afterward,” the Justice Minister stated at the Superior Council of the Magistracy (CSM).
Romanian MEPs react to adoption of rule of law resolution
Romanian MEPs have had some of the most diverse reactions after the European Parliament adopted its resolution on the rule of law.
Siegfried Muresan (PNL): I have voted in the European Parliament for a resolution that defends Romania and Romanians from the attacks of the PSD-ALDE Government
“For two years, Romanians have taken to the streets with the European Union flag behind them, asking for the EU’s support in the defence of Romanian democracy and rule of law. For two years, the PSD-ALDE Government has been deaf to what the protesters and the European partners have been saying about the judicial laws. For two years, the ruling coalition’s objective has been but one: weakening the act of justice in order to save PSD’s felon president Liviu Dragnea. On August 10, Romanians took to the streets once again to defend the rule of law. The members of Government reacted via the institutions of force, attacking with gas and batons the peaceful protesters and the journalists who were doing their job. The members of Government subsequently continued the offensive by promoting laws that limit the activity of civil society and muzzle the protesters. We, in the European Parliament, cannot overlook these things. We must issue a clear message of support for the hundreds of thousands of people who take to the street and protest for the rule of law and for European values. We must issue a clear message of support for the dozens of Romanians who were mercilessly hit by the authorities.
“The resolution does not ask for any sanction on Romania, the resolution defends Romania and Romanians from the politicians who want to control the judiciary. We, the PNL, have always criticised all overtures meant to weaken the judicial laws. Today’s vote in favour of the resolution and in support of the people who want an independent judiciary is the natural position given PNL’s overtures opposing all PSD-ALDE attacks on European democratic values in the last two years.”
Monica Macovei: The European Parliament’s vote is a vote for Romanians and against the corrupt politicians ruling them
“I voted for the Resolution on the rule of law in Romania because it criticises the PSD&ALDE Government that is trampling on the judiciary, the free press, is changing the criminal laws, all of that in order to get rid of the responsibility for fraud, money laundering, corruption, abuse.
“The Resolution does not criticise Romanians, on the contrary, the Resolution defends honest people who are being robbed and humiliated every day by the ruling mafia.
“I have voted for the Resolution because Romania belongs in the European Union, because Romanians want democracy, justice, freedom.
“PSD&ALDE have brought Romania to the point of being a topic of debate in the European Parliament. Today, the 473 votes in favour of the Resolution have taught PSD&ALDE their place and warn them that they are destroying the rule of law and burying the judiciary.”
Gabriela Zoana (PSD): This week Romania is being unjustly and not by chance accused in two documents: ‘Resolution on observance of the rule of law’ and ‘CVM Report’
“The overlap between the CVM report and the resolution concerning Romania is not at all by chance. Next year’s European Parliament elections have put pressure on the main European families. We must understand that Romania, which has at rule the largest Social Democratic party in the whole of Europe, is at this moment the target of the political attacks of the European People’s parties in view of the elections set to take place in the first half of next year.
“This week Romania is being unjustly and not at all by chance accused in two documents: ‘Resolution on the observance of the rule of law’ and ‘CVM Report.’
“Regardless of what Romania were to do during this period, it’s clear that at the level of the European Parliament the decisions have been taken, the unjust accusation levelled against our country by using the biggest European political group, the EPP group, which usually gives the Union’s future President of the European Commission. Unfortunately, we see Romanian MEPs being at their beck and call rather than at the beck and call of national interests.
“In what concerns the CVM report, things are not different here either. It’s well-known that abuses which in other states would not be permitted have in fact been perpetrated under the umbrella of this so-called “cooperation and verification mechanism.” Moreover, whole series of conditions have been imposed on Romania via this CVM, met one by one but which, once met, were replaced in the periodic progress reports by new and new conditions imposed on us, with the promise that once these too are met the mechanism will be lifted. They changed the rules during the game, depending on context and interests.
“From this standpoint, the CVM report this week, which is unfavourable for our country, serves only to take its place in the long series of reports authored to impose measures based on the political requirements of the day.”
Maria Grapini: A resolution of hypocrisy
“I didn’t vote for the resolution, because it’s a resolution of hypocrisy, not one concerning Romanian rule of law. Why do the European Parliament, the Commission, certain parliamentarian, want to put my country in the corner? Because it doesn’t want to accept being a second-rate country? Because you want to give us prescriptions that you don’t implement in your country? Why don’t you export at home what you put for us in the resolution? Why do you enter subsidiarity? In what other country did the EU interfere in the replacing of the head of an institution? Why should we report the constitutional replacement of the head of an institution, albeit the prosecutor general? A crisis has been created, a country of prosecutors, leave us alone! We want to defend the citizens, we want the treaty respected! We, Romania, did not violate the treaty; on the other hand, the EU is violating the treaty and the Schengen regulations. You don’t allow us in the Schengen area even though we don’t have fences, we don’t have murdered journalists. Romania is not part of the group of 9 states which register the highest corruption in the history of the EU! Why isn’t the same standard applied? I’m up in arms, I consider that it’s an injustice toward my country and toward my citizens [sic].”