The embassies of twelve states that are Romania’s international partners and allies, including France, the US and Germany, express concerns about the rule of law in Romania and call on all parties involved in drafting emergency government ordinances modifying justice sector laws “to avoid changes that would weaken the rule of law and Romania’s ability to fight crime or corruption”.
The joint document, released on the Facebook pages of the embassies of France and Germany, is signed by the following states: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, the US and Sweden.
“We, Romania’s international partners and allies, call on all parties involved in drafting emergency government ordinances modifying justice sector laws to avoid changes that would weaken the rule of law and Romania’s ability to fight crime or corruption,” reads the document.
The signatories also deplore the fact that official requests for a dialogue on these matters have remained unanswered since January of this year. They further voice deep concern about the integrity of Romania’s justice system.
“We are deeply concerned about the integrity of Romania’s justice system, which has been buffeted by unpredictable modifications that do not further Romania’s efforts to consolidate judicial progress. To the contrary, the cumulative effect of these modifications carries the risk of slowing the fight against corruption and undermining judicial independence. We expect the reform process to be based on an inclusive process, involving all stakeholders in broad consultations,” the letter reads.
According to the signatories, this approach is to be effectuated for the well-being of all Romanians.
“This also requires all parties involved to reconsider the feedback and offers of support provided by domestic and international legal experts, in order to avoid further marring the remarkable judicial progress Romania has made over the past two decades,” assert the representatives of the 12 states.
They argue that “the emergency ordinances apparently under discussion have the potential to impact on the independence of Romania’s judiciary, which would undermine Romanians’ and partners’ trust in the justice system, and in Romania’s Government as well.”
“Partner countries consider that it is imperative that Romania take into account the recommendations issued by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission and GRECO, the European Parliament, the EU Council and the European Commission in its latest report within the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) and to ensure an efficient, transparent and impartial judiciary,” the document further states.
In the opinion of the signatories, “the expected changes carry the risk of breaching common values. Furthermore, they might have a lasting negative effect on the country’s economic development. The fact that Romania currently holds the EU Presidency, places Romania in a special position of responsibility.”
“We urge the Romanian government and all parties involved to take due consideration of this joint statement and to reaffirm Romania’s political commitment to defend our shared values,” conclude the signatories of the letter.
Prime Minister’s message to the ambassadors: I will not allow them to establish the PM’s agenda
Prime Minister Viorica Dancila stated on Wednesday, at the beginning of the Government’s meeting, that she will not allow the ambassadors to establish the agenda of the Romanian Prime Minister, in the circumstances in which ambassadors of 12 states expressed their concern for the integrity of the Romanian judiciary.
“Also today (on Wednesday – e.n.), I saw the opinion of some ambassadors of a group of ambassadors. I wanted to have an individual talk with each ambassador of this group, but they refused. I remind the ladies and gentlemen ambassadors that we are in Romania and I have a direct dialogue with my counterparts. I recommend them to address to the authorities of their countries, because the ambassadors don’t establish the Prime Minister’s agenda in any state, and I will not allow this. They must show respect for Romania, as every Romanian ambassador shows respect for a third-party country”, Viorica Dancila stated on Wednesday, at the beginning of the Government’s meeting.