The Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union will not stray from the principles of respecting the common European values, fundamental rights and freedoms and the rule of law, Justice Minister Tudorel Toader gave assurances on Wednesday in presenting the priorities in the field of justice in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice And Home Affairs of the European Parliament (LIBE).
“We will not stray from the general guidelines, from the respect for common values, fundamental rights and liberties, the rule of law,” the Romanian minister highlighted.
The Romanian official mentioned that in the work of the Romanian Presidency at the EU Council in the Justice area there will be used the “consensus method where possible and the compromise method where necessary”.
He announced that a priority in this area will be the advancement in the dossier of creating the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, an extremely important project to combat crime in the European Union.
The European Public Prosecutor’s Office should be operational by no later than November 2020.
With “criminality on the rise at European and international level, the means of fighting it must in turn rise on the European and international level,” Toader said.
Responding to the criticisms expressed by many LIBE MEPs who have voiced concerns about the situation of the rule of law and corruption in Romania, the Romanian official said that those criticisms “must be based on correct information and not on anything else.”
Referring to the respective criticisms of the rule of law situation in Romania, after the LIBE hearing, Minister Toader told the press that “unfortunately, reality is different from what is perceived.”
”Either there is no correct, complete information, or sometimes one does not want to know the information. What is certain is the fact that I have received two categories of questions, received as chairperson of the JHA Council, but country-specific questions related to the quality of justice minister. In the synthesis I answered. There was that question with the envisaged emergency ordinance, I tried to explain the context in which the discussion is taking place after the decision of the Constitutional Court, and I stressed that it is not only addressed to those who have been convicted, but also to those who have been acquitted. (…) I would say, when we develop the subject, that there are arguments by the European Court of Justice, arguments of the Constitutional Court, arguments by the Luxembourg Court of Justice, which show that intrusion into fundamental rights and freedoms is not justified by anything else. I repeat, only the citizen’s access to an independent and objectively-appointed judge is wanted,” the Romanian official mentioned.
An idea emphasized by Toader in front of the LIBE members and resumed in front of the present Romanian journalists was that the rule of law is structured from one country to another, that it has different degrees of structuring and that it needs to be consolidated according to common principles. These principles are “the European values, the irreversible process of lawmaking and consolidation, the compliance with the constitutional requirements, the compliance with the requirements of the European Court of Justice jurisprudence, the observance of the recommendations of the Venice Commission, the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism – for those who unfortunately have it, as we do. And I was also saying one thing: the fact that this consultative body, the Venice Commission, makes different recommendations to different states, wherever appropriate, is indisputable proof that the rules of law are at different levels of structuring. The important thing is that we are all aiming at the same parameters by capitalizing on and accepting the European values,” the Romanian minister said.
He specified that in the field of justice, the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council took over from the Austrian 15 dossiers, most of which are legislative. “We want to advance with all the dossiers as much as possible, but that depends not only on us, it depends on the partners in the Council and the other co-legislators,” Tudorel Toader said after the LIBE hearing.
PNL’s Orban: Hearing of Toader, Dan reveals Government’s tremendous credibility issue
Chairman of National Liberal Party (PNL) Ludovic Orban is critical of Minister of Interior Carmen Dan and Justice Minister Tudorel Toader’s hearings in the European Parliament, saying that their statements have embarrassed Romania.
“Tudorel Toader and Carmen Dan have embarrassed Romania in the European Parliament. (…) The hearing of the two ministers revealed the tremendous credibility issue of the current Government at the level of the European Union,” says Orban in a press release issued on Wednesday for AGERPRES.
He points out that Tudorel Toader has refused to make a commitment not to initiate further amendments to the legislation in the field of justice and the criminal field without having previously received the Venice Commission’s advice after express request to do so. Orban also states that the Minister of Justice has in no way explained his position on the CVM Report, preferring instead to “lie” on the implementation of the recommendations of the Venice Commission in the Romanian legislation.
“Today’s hearing of the Minister of Justice will cause serious damage to Romania at the level of the European Union, which will be even greater in the context of Romania’s holding the Presidency of the EU Council,” says the PNL leader.
Ludovic Orban also criticizes the statements of the Minister of the Interior regarding the accession to the Schengen area.
“Carmen Dan announced, shockingly, that Romania refuses to take the following steps for joining the Schengen Area, respectively to request the evaluation of the correct application of the acquis communautaire. Basically, the Romanian Government announces on its own blocking the accession to Schengen, ‘now or in the future.’ For imposture and hypocrisy to be complete, the Minister of the Interior argued that Romania aims to lift the CVM, while the Minister of Justice did not say a word, given that the Government and the PSD-ALDE majority not only did they not follow any of the recommendations of the latest CVM Report, but they acted exactly against them!,” stresses the leader of the Liberals.
He said that “the only way Romania must follow to be respected in the European Union, for the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism be lifted, and to join the Schengen Area is that these people sent to represent the country in Brussels understand that they cannot lie to European officials and must respect fully and to the letter the recommendations of the Venice Commission, of the European Commission through the CVM Report and of the European Parliament in the Resolution adopted in November 2018.”
“Otherwise, Romania will become increasingly marginalized in the European Union and will be deprived of the chance to capitalize on the benefits of the EU membership, at the risk of having blocked or reduced the funds necessary for the development and balancing of the welfare at the level of the other member states, concludes Ludovic Orban.