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September 28, 2022
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In letter to PM Dancila, opposition leader Orban urges Gov’t to support bid of prosecutor Kovesi

National leader of the opposition National Liberal Party (PNL) Ludovic Orban on Thursday sent an open letter to Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, urging the Romanian Government to extend “a positive mandate” to former chief anti-graft prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi in her bid for chief prosecutor of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office.

“It is enough that the PSD and the ALDE [Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and democrats] have compromised themselves irredeemably before the European Parliament and become pariahs in the European political families they belong to. Obtuseness and personal aversion against a Romanian who stands a chance of holding a top position in the European architecture have made the PSD and ALDE leaders export to the EU unfathomable misery, against which the involuntary reaction of any European official hold his or her nose. Enough! PSD and ALDE have completely lost their credibility and it will take a very long time for someone to take them seriously again at EU level and listen to them. I am urging you do not push Romania into making a fool of itself! The Government of Romania must extend a positive mandate to Laura Codruta Kovesi in her bid for chief prosecutor of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office that they will make public,” Orban said in a letter to Dancila.

He points out that the role of the government is “to defend and promote the interests of the citizens” of Romania.

“The role of the Romanian Government is not to be the vested interest of Liviu Dragnea, but to support, to defend and to promote the interests of the Romanian citizens, regardless of their name or surname. Only in the bleak communist period would the Romanian state persecute its own citizens in such a Stalinist way that we are witnessing today, but even in the Communist era, some of those who managed to win world acclaim would became a subject of pride. I am inviting you to respect the motto “I am proud of being Romanian” in this case of the European chief prosecutor as well since the popular mandate you keep referring to did not cover actions against the judiciary or against certain persons,” Orban added.

He argued that Kovesi getting the position of European chief prosecutor against the protestation of the Romanian government will stigmatise not only the political parties at rule, but also the country as a whole, which is “a serious act of treason and injustice.”

Orban asked Dancila to present publicly the written mandates sent by the Romanian Government to COREPER.

“I would like to inform you that, according to the assessments we currently have, the chance of the future European chief prosecutor being Laura Codruta Kovesi is extremely high, and the probability of PSD and ALDE obstructing it is extremely small. That is why the National Liberal Party is determined to consolidate this state of affairs by all its levers of influence. At the same time, you are obliged to present publicly the written mandates that the Romanian Government communicated to the representatives of Romania at the COREPER level for both the meeting of February 20 and the following. This became all the more necessary as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Teodor Melescanu, objected the decision regarding the mandate extended for the election of the European chief prosecutor. You’d would be well-advised to make a good decision autonomously in the sense of the above, because this may be the occasion when you can rebound in the eyes of public opinion from the disaster of this government that you will pay for.”

 

Kovesi’s candidacy for Chief European Prosecutor: Who are the Romanian MEPs who voted for the ex-DNA chief

 

Traian Ungureanu is the only Liberal who is member of the LIBE Committee, however, since several MEPs were absent, Liberal MEPs Cristian Busoi, Siegfried Muresan, Marian-Jean Marinescu and Adina Valean took part in the meeting as alternate members, according to political sources.

According to the sources, one FIDESZ MEP, member of the LIBE Committee, did not take part in the committee’s meeting, being replaced by one of PNL’s MEPs. On the other hand, five Socialist MEPs – Emilian Pavel, Gabriela Zoana, Claudiu Ciprian Tanasescu, Razvan Popa and Maria Grapini – voted against Laura Codruta Kovesi.

“We’ve defeated them! The result of the LIBE vote: Laura-Codruta Kovesi (Romania) – 26 votes; Jean Francois Bohnert (France) – 22 votes; Andres Ritter (Germany) – 1 vote. It’s a great victory for Romania, one to which we too – the MEPs of the National Liberal Party – have decisively contributed with our votes in the European Parliament. We order the Romanian Government to cease sabotaging the Romanian candidate for the office of Chief European Prosecutor,” PNL MEP Siegfried Muresan wrote in a Facebook posting after the LIBE Committee vote.

Likewise, PNL President Ludovic Orban congratulated the MEPs who contributed to Kovesi being elected by the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament.

“I congratulate the PNL parliamentarians and our EPP partners for the remarkable effort they have made to contribute to this success. I point out that today (Wednesday – editor’s note), within the LIBE Committee, five PNL MEPs representing the EPP exercised their vote in favour of the Romanian candidate, even though they are not members of the LIBE Committee,” Ludovic Orban stated on Wednesday at the Palace of Parliament.

The vote counting process stirred discussions among MEPs. According to video footage, MEP Judith Sargentini (Greens) reproached MEP Maria Grapini with not counting one vote cast in favour of Laura Codruta Kovesi.

“There was no incident. This lady is an eccentric. I counted the first pile of votes, because she gave them to me to count. There were four of us within the committee and Monica Macovei would have been the first to react had there been an attempt to steal, as some absurd gentlemen are saying. When I reached Mrs Kovesi’s pile, the lady said: ‘I’m counting these.’ Very well,” Maria Grapini stated for MEDIAFAX.

On Wednesday, following a secret ballot vote, the LIBE Committee selected Laura Codruta Kovesi first on the list of candidates for the office of Chief European Prosecutor. The results were: Laura Codruta Kovesi – 26 votes; Jean-Francois Bohnert (France) – 22 votes; Andres Ritter (Germany) – 1 vote.

Kovesi was preferred by the CONT Committee the day before too. Within the European Parliament’s CONT Committee, Laura Codruta Kovesi won 12 votes. She was followed by Francois Bohnert (11 votes) and Andres Ritter (1 vote).

The next stages will be decided at the Conference of Presidents on March 7.

LIBE Committee Chairman Claude Moraes has announced that he will send the head of the Conference of Presidents a letter informing him of the results and that, based on the mandate of the Conference of Presidents, he will start negotiations with the Council of the EU for an agreement on the candidate for the helm of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office.

During the meeting of the permanent representatives to the Council of the EU (COREPER), prosecutor Jean-Francois Bohnert (France) received 50 votes, followed by Laura Codruta Kovesi (Romania) and Andres Ritter (Germany), both in a tie with 29 points.

 

LIBE Cttee Chairman on negotiations on Chief European Prosecutor: The European Parliament and the Council of the EU will be equal partners

 

LIBE Committee Chairman Claude Moraes stated on Wednesday evening that the European Parliament and the Council of the EU are equal partners and that the vote difference between Jean-Francois Bohnert and Laura Codruta Kovesi does not matter in the negotiations on the Chief European Prosecutor.

“Their vote (the vote of EU Council members – editor’s note) is equal to our vote. We are equal. They have voted, we have voted, and that’s the end of the story. (…) Eventually, at the negotiations, both the Council and the European Parliament will be equal partners in these negotiations.

“It’s true that at the member states the French candidate was very far ahead, and in our case the difference between the candidates was very small, but in a negotiation, a mature negotiation, nobody will look at this.

“We will see who the best candidate is. It won’t be easy, there is a difference between the way the voting went, but this is democracy, this is how we want voting to go,” LIBE Committee Chairman Claude Moraes stated on Antena3 when asked whether the fact that the votes were very close within the LIBE and CONT committees, while the voting within the EU Council went clearly in favour of the French candidate, will matter.

Moraes claimed there must be consensus and negotiations.

“That’s how we work. Even if we are stuck, somebody must give in, for us to reach consensus. There is no master to say: stop playing around, this is what we decided, and this is what we do.

“Democracy is not perfect, and this situation is not perfect either. The members of the Council are from member states, but it’s not the elected side of the EU. You shouldn’t underestimate what Parliament is doing in a negotiation. It’s a new procedure, it’s not tested,” Moraes added when asked whether the EU Council has greater power of negotiation.

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