DIPLOMACY POLITICS

Manfred Weber: Ensuring Council of EU presidency, an important task for the Romanian governments

Ensuring the quarterly presidency of the Council of the European Union is an important task, for in the first half of 2019 we will have the Brexit to deal with, we will have the European elections and we hope to agree on the multiannual financial framework, in which context the rest of the Europe is worried about the discussions in Romania related to the government’s capacity to preside over the Council of the European Union, the European People’s Party (EPP) candidate for the future presidency of the European Union, Manfred Weber, told on Thursday a group of Romanian journalists at the headquarters of the European Parliament in Brussels.

“The credibility of the Socialist-Liberal government in Romania was already damaged by the discussions about the anti-corruption legislation; the credibility in its ability to adequately lead the Council of the EU was damaged by the decisions of the Socialist-Liberal majority in Parliament and what resulted was an image that is not so good for the moment when Romania will take over the presidency of the Council of the EU. We are taking these worries expressed by President Klaus Iohannis very seriously and that’s why we believe that the Romanian government has an important task,” in this respect, said the leader of the EPP group in the European Parliament.

He reminded about the resolution adopted several weeks ago by the European Parliament with respect to the rule of law in Romania. “What I cannot accept is the fact that the Romanian PM made very clearly promises to us, here, in the European Parliament, related to what she wanted to change, and then she returned to Bucharest and she didn’t care (about the respective promises – editor’s note). This is not about the “EU being against Romania,” this is not the case at all, for what we are doing is in Romania’s favour, in order for it to have an approach that will lead to the modernization of the country, in order to have a modern society. (…) When I was in Bucharest the last time, I met many protesters, many of them young people, representatives of the NGOs, who want to modernize Romania. So we are not speaking of “Romania being against the EU’ either, but of the fact that the European Union defends its principles and the Romanian government should do the same, in its turn,” added Manfred Weber.

The European Parliament on November 13 adopted a non-legislative resolution regarding the rule of law in Romania, with the text stating “the profound concern” of the European Deputies with respect to the judicial and criminal reform in Romania and “condemning the violent and disproportionate intervention of the police forces during the protests in Bucharest” in August.

In the said resolution, the European Parliament invited the Romanian authorities to set into practice such guarantees to avoid omission of the mechanism of verification and balance and to oppose measures that will lead to the decriminalization of corruption among public servants.

The amendments brought to the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code – among which many were considered to be unconstitutional by Romania’s Constitutional Court – represent another reason of concern, with additional effects on the capacity to fight corruption, violent crimes and organised crimes.

Moreover, the European Parliament condemned “the violent and disproportionate intervention” of the police during the August 2018 protests in Bucharest and made an appeal to the Romanian authorities to ensure a transparent investigation into the actions of law enforcement.

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