On Thursday, Laura Codruta Kovesi, former Chief Prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), was officially designated Chief European Prosecutor following an EU Council vote. The EU Council convened on Thursday in the COREPER format (the ambassadors of member states) to decide on the Council’s nomination for the position of head of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. Laura Codruta Kovesi was backed by the European Parliament, while France’s Jean-Francois Bohnert was backed by the Council.
Kovesi won 17 of the 22 votes cast, against the backdrop in which Premier Viorica Dancila had announced the evening before that Luminita Odobescu, Romania’s ambassador to the EU, will vote against designating Laura Codruta Kovesi.
Opposition satisfied with COREPER’s positive notice
Laura Codruta Kovesi convinced through ‘proven integrity and competence’ in leading the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) and the Public Ministry, said on Thursday Dacian Ciolos, leader of the Renew Group in the European Parliament, after the former head of the DNA was given a positive notice in the Council from the ambassadors of the EU member states (COREPER) for the position of European head prosecutor.
“Our efforts in the European Parliament are working. I congratulate her, it’s her merit she got this far and convinced through proven integrity and competence in leading the DNA and the Public Ministry. We have managed together with the colleagues in the USR PLUS Alliance and in the Renew Europe group to act coordinately to overcome the political blockage that existed up to now, in part due to the opposition of the PSD [Social Democratic Party] Government. Fortunately, France and governments of member states we have had discussions with in the past months changed their position and voted for the Romanian candidate, as should have happened from the beginning if the PSD had not acted against the interest of Romania,” Ciolos wrote on Facebook.
The USR PLUS Alliance in the European Parliament, too, announced in a release that Laura Codruta Kovesi, Romania’s candidate, has a clear path to occupy one of the most important positions in the European Union, that of head prosecutor of the European Prosecutor’s Office.
The National Liberal Party (PNL) chairman, Ludovic Orban, stated that the designation of Laura Codruta Kovesi as European head prosecutor following the vote in COREPER is a victory to which President Klaus Iohannis and the liberals contributed and a slap given to the Dancila Government by the other European states. He mentions that PNL, as a member of the EPP, used all its leverage to obtain this result, managing to determine changes in position from the countries that initially did not vote in favor of Laura Codruta Kovesi.
The chairman of the Save Romania Union (USR), Dan Barna, sends his congratulations to Laura Codruta Kovesi for the vote obtained during the COREPER meeting, mentioning that only PM Viorica Dancila insists on stopping her appointment as European head prosecutor, but that the PM’s opposition “did not matter”. He claims that if she had acted “decently” in the past and had let Laura Codruta Kovesi continue her career, Viorica Dancila would not be today in the position “of acting against the interests of her own country.”
Kovesi: Today’s vote, acknowledgment of activity carried out by entire justice system
Laura Codruta Kovesi said on Thursday that the vote given to her by the ambassadors of the member states of the European Union for the position of European Chief Prosecutor represents an acknowledgement of the work carried out by the entire justice system in Romania.
“It is an important step in the procedure. This procedure is not finalized and we will have to wait for the official decision. (…) Regarding today’s vote, I think it is an acknowledgment of the activity carried out by the entire justice system, I equally think it is a success of all the Romanians who in recent years have supported the fight against corruption and defended the rule of law, especially in difficult times. I think it also mattered that I got the first place after the technical interview, but I think that this vote, as was the vote in the European Parliament, is a vote of confidence, in support of a society that has upheld the European justice and values, and without whose help I would not have succeeded. I hope that this appointment, if finalized, and I hope it will be completed as soon as possible, represents for all Romanian prosecutors and judges a motivation to continue the fight against corruption, to defend the independence of justice and I hope it is a sign that despite all obstacles, professionalism and consistency are eventually the only ones that are important when you want to succeed,” the former head of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) said in a call-in interview with private broadcaster Digi 24.
She added that she does not have any information about the vote given by Romania’s representative, stating that she did not discuss the matter with the prime minister, the president or the ambassador of Romania to the EU.
“Regarding the accusations against me, they have been cleared, I have definitive decisions of the High Court of Cassation and Justice both in terms of certain disciplinary actions that have been formulated, as well as the criminal case. (…) I have not discussed either with the president, or with the prime minister, or with the Romanian ambassador on the votes and on the mandates that are given for the COREPER [Committee of Permanent Representatives of the governments of the Member States near the European Union] meetings.
Iohannis: Result regarding Laura Codruta Kovesi’s candidacy – important victory for Romania
President Klaus Iohannis stated that the vote in the COREPER regarding the candidacy of Laura Codruta Kovesi for the position of European head prosecutor represents an important victory for Romania, showing that the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Government tried to block this candidacy.
“I hail the vote granted today in the meeting of the Comittee of Permanent Representatives of the governments of the member states in the European Union (COREPER), through which wide support was expressed in favor of the candidacy of Laura Codruta Kovesi for the position of head prosecutor of the European Prosecutor’s Office. I am glad that the vote granted by the member states of the European Union was a substantial one, fact that confirms the appreciation for the training, experience and competence of Ms. Kovesi. The result today represents an important victory for Romania, even more so because it was obtained despite the fact that the PSD government permanently tried to block the candidacy of a professional, recognized for her fight against corruption and in defending the rule of law,” said Iohannis, in a press statement referring to the vote received by Kovesi in the COREPER meeting.
He emphasizes that, as he acted in this case, he will continue to support “Romanians with integrity, competence and good professionals for leadership positions at the level of European Union institutions.”
PM Dancila: Accusations must be cleared before filling position
Prime Minister Viorica Dancila declared that “Romania’s image would suffer” if the accusations brought to Laura Codruta Kovesi were true and specified that the vote given by Romania’s representative to the EU at the COREPER meeting was one “against”.
“It was the opinion of other Member States, I repeat, my point of view, that the law must be respected, we must all be equal before the law and that it is important to clear all the accusations hanging over one’s head before filling a position. I wonder, should Mrs. Codruta Kovesi become the Prosecutor General and if some of these statements are true, I wish they weren’t, but if these accusations are true, then who will stand to suffer? I do not want to refer to the person, but surely Romania’s image would suffer,” Viorica Dancila told on Thursday on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Asked how Romania’s representative voted to the EU (e.n. – Ambassador Luminita Odobescu), the prime minister emphasized: “As I said, against”.
Dancila, before the vote in COREPER: We are not endorsing a mandate for Laura Codruta Kovesi as European prosecutor-in-chief
The Government doesn’t endorse a mandate for Laura Codruta Kovesi as European prosecutor-in-chief, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila stated on Wednesday evening.
“I’ve said and I repeat this thing. I don’t endorse, we don’t endorse a mandate for Laura Codruta Kovesi. We are not endorsing this mandate because it seems to me a natural approach, when there are certain accusations, when there are suspicions over any person, regardless of the office that one holds or the office which one is running for, [that person] has to clarify these things and then take over this position. Therefore, I maintain the standpoint that I’ve had so far,” PM Dancila stated after the meeting of the Social Democratic Party’s (PSD) National Executive Committee (CExN), when asked how Romania’s Ambassador to the EU Luminita Odobescu will vote in the Council of the European Union in respect to the appointment of Laura Codruta Kovesi as European prosecutor-in-chief.
In relation to the same topic, the PM denied the pieces of information released in the public space according to which an agreement was reached with the Renew Europe group so that Rovana Plumb be endorsed as European Commissioner in exchange of the support for the installation of Laura Codruta Kovesi as European Chief Prosecutor.
When asked in respect to the abovementioned aspect, Prime Minister mentioned that Luminita Odobescu’s vote will be one against Kovesi’s appointment: “I’ve said ‘against’,” Dancila underscored.