Premier Viorica Dancila has informed President Klaus Iohannis, who announced on Tuesday that he will take part in Government meetings, that she is open to that taking place when the topics on the order of business are stipulated by the Constitution as being those concerning the Head of State, otherwise she will extend an invitation only if she considers that necessary.
“I have taken note with satisfaction of the recent statement in which you finally admit that we need to collaborate for the sake of Romania. Likewise, I welcome the fact that you have answered my call for political collaboration for Romania to ensure a good presidency of the Council of the European Union. Regarding your request – in which you invoke the prerogatives conferred upon you by Article 87 of the Romanian Constitution – to receive the order of business of each Government meeting, I inform you that the Romanian Government posts on its own website, every time, the order of business of the Government meetings, along with the draft public policy documents, the draft legislative acts or other documents, as well as the relevant accompanying documents, documents that can be consulted by any person,” reads Viorica Dancila’s letter to the President.
Viorica Dancila also points out the cases in which she expects the President to take part in Government meetings.
“In case the order of business of the Government meeting contains draft legislative acts concerning “matters of national interest regarding foreign policy, national defence, public order,” in line with the constitutional article invoked, we will notify you and I assure you of all openness in case you decide to take part in the Government meeting. Likewise, in the cases falling under the “other instances” term included in the constitutional article, cases in which it is up to the Prime Minister to invite the President of Romania (“The President of Romania may participate in Government meetings […] at the request of the Prime Minister in other instances as well”), I will expeditiously extend to you the invitation to take part in the Government meeting provided I consider your participation necessary. In conclusion, I assure you, Mr President, that the Government of Romania is aware of the obligation of constitutional loyalty that imposes – both to the Government and the President, as well as to any public authority – the observance of constitutional competences, without undertaking prerogatives that exceed the constitutional and legal framework,” the document reads.
President Klaus Iohannis stated on Tuesday that he will take part in Government meetings as a result of “the Premier’s desire for collaboration.” He added that a Government emergency ordinance (GEO) on amnesty and pardon would be “a very grave error for Romania.”
“I have requested the order of business. I believe we must see things in perspective a bit. We are preparing for the presidency. Even if we are ready, things are not at all simple. On the other hand, I have noticed a desire for collaboration on the part of the Premier. She has repeatedly invited me to collaborate. I will collaborate. I will take part in Government meetings,” Klaus Iohannis stated.
He criticised the PSD leaders’ intention to table an emergency ordinance on amnesty and pardon.
“It would be a grave error. Such a GEO on amnesty and pardon would be a very grave error for Romania,” the Head of State said.
On Monday, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis sent a letter to Romanian Premier Vasilica-Viorica Dancila, asking her to send him the order of business of each Government meeting, after the Justice Minister had stated that it was agreed within the PSD that amnesty and pardon will be the last solution.
According to Article 87 of the Constitution, “(1) The President of Romania may participate in the meetings of the Government debating upon matters of national interest with regard to foreign policy, national defence, insurance of public order, and, at the Prime Minister’s request, in other instances as well. (2) The President of Romania shall preside over the Government meetings he participates in.”
Iohannis insists on taking part in Gov’t meetings and makes his “entrance” in Victoria Palace with request concerning the situation of Romanians in the United Kingdom
President Klaus Iohannis sent a letter on Tuesday to Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, asking her to include on the order of business of the forthcoming Government meeting the topic of the protection of the rights and interests of Romanian citizens living in the United Kingdom.
“Madam Prime Minister, as you know, Romania’s main objective in the negotiations regarding the UK’s withdrawal process from the European Union is to protect the rights and interests of more than 400,000 Romanians in this country. Following the negotiations between the European Union and the UK, the Withdrawal Agreement was endorsed at a special meeting of the European Council in Brussels on November 25. This agreement, insofar as it will be ratified by the British Parliament and approved by the EU Council and the European Parliament, will ensure a high protection of the rights of European citizens, including Romanians, living in the UK. However, the latest developments in the UK, including Parliament’s meaningful vote on the Withdrawal Agreement, significantly increase the uncertainty about its ratification by the UK Parliament. Under these circumstances, the Romanian authorities should be prepared to get the best possible conditions for Romanian citizens in the UK in any scenario,” says Iohannis in the letter.
He points out that if the British Parliament does not ratify the Withdrawal Agreement, measures will be needed at European level, and especially at national level, to ensure the rights of European citizens in the UK.
“In this case, at national level, urgent steps should be taken at both the legislative and the diplomatic-consular level to guarantee the rights, at the highest level possible, for the Romanian citizens living in the UK. Given these elements, I ask you to include the topic of the protection of the rights and interests of Romanian citizens living in the UK on the order of business of the next Government sitting,” president Iohannis said in a letter to Prime Minister Dancila.
ALDE Vice President: President cannot take part in any Gov’t meeting
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) Vice President Varujan Vosganian stated on Tuesday that the Head of State cannot take part, at his request, in any Government meeting, but only in meetings in which topics pertaining to foreign policy, national defence and public order are debated, and he has to leave the meeting room once the debate ends.
“According to Article 87 of the Constitution, the Romanian President cannot take part, at his request, in any Government meeting, but only in meetings in which topics concerning foreign policy, defence and public order are debated. And he chairs the Government meetings only in these situations and within these procedural boundaries. The moment the debate on the said topics concludes, the President leaves the room in which the Government meeting takes place or remains there only to watch the proceedings,” Varujan Vosganian wrote on Facebook.
He added that “otherwise we would end up in an unconstitutional and hence unacceptable situation,” namely for the Government to adopt or reject legislative acts under the leadership of the President, not of the Prime Minister.
Tariceanu explains: President does not lead Gov’t meetings, he chairs them
Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu, leader of ALDE, stated on Tuesday, for MEDIAFAX, that the President does not lead the Government meetings in which he takes part, he only chairs them, thus having the possibility to say: “I give the floor to this or that gentleman.”
“When the President takes part in Government meetings, he does not lead the Government or the meetings. The leadership of the Government is ensured solely by the Prime Minister, even when the President is present. The fact that he chairs the meeting does not mean he leads. The Prime Minister is the one who takes decisions along with the members of Government. Not the President. The President cannot replace the Prime Minister. To chair means something else. It’s the position that gives you the possibility to say ‘I give the floor to this or that gentleman,’ but leading the Government remains the prerogative of the Prime Minister, even in the presence of the President. The President cannot say ‘this is adopted’ or ‘this isn’t adopted,’” Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated for MEDIAFAX.
In his opinion, a confusion is being made regarding the person who leads Government meetings in the presence of the President.
“People believe that if the President comes to a meeting – of course, in which only certain topics are discussed: foreign policy, security, public order – he leads the meeting. No, he doesn’t lead the meeting, not even then,” Tariceanu added.
While Tariceanu was Premier, then-President Traian Basescu took part in some Government meetings, but their order of business consisted of topics pertaining to the Head of State’s prerogatives, namely foreign policy, national security and public order.
Florin Iordache, author of GEO no.13, sarcastic toward the President: He can take out pen and paper and listen to what the ministers are saying
House Speaker Florin Iordache has stated that the President does not have veto right in Government meetings, and if the topics stipulated by the Constitution are no longer discussed the Premier can ask him to leave the room. Klaus Iohannis has announced he will take part in the remaining Government meetings this year.
“He can’t block the Government’s activity. He can take out pen and paper and start taking notes, he cannot block the Government’s activity. At the same time, if there are no matters concerning foreign policy, public order, defence, the Premier can say ‘Mr President, see you later, after I finish the Government meeting.’ This too is an option for the Premier. The President, if he chairs [the meeting], he discusses an order of business that was presented. On the order of business, which is public, if there are issues that concern him, he takes part in the meeting, he chairs it, but if the Government decides that they must move on, he has no veto right. He can stand there holding a notepad, listening to what the ministers are saying, the ministers have the right to debate there,” Florin Iordache stated for Antena3.