Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Marcel Ciolacu wrote European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans to bring to their attention the “non-democratic slippages” of the government headed by Florin Citu, PSD informs in a release.
The slippages red flagged in the letter consist of “the politicization of public funds, European funding and public offices in Romania,” with the PSD leader calling on the European officials to take a public stance, which – he argues – is justified by the fact that the Romanian citizens must feel protected by the European Union whenever abuses are committed and governments violate the democratic principles of the rule of law.
“Our country is slipping into an undemocratic path, and as the leader of the Romanian opposition I have a responsibility to do everything in my power to help the Romanians and defend our European democratic values,” Ciolacu wrote, pointing also out that PSD “is open to constructive discussions about Romania’s future on the European and democratic path.”
The main points of complaint are: for the first time in Romania’s post-Revolution history, the coalition parties approved a budget without accepting any of the amendments proposed by the MPs; also in an all-time first, the government added, in a completely non-transparent manner, an annex to the budget with the amounts allocated preferentially, according to a political algorithm, to the counties and localities led by the representatives of the parties in the governing coalition, with the National Liberal Party receiving 52 pct, the Save Romania Union – 35 pct, and the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania 13 pct – a distribution that almost perfectly mirrors each party’s share in the coalition, PSD states.
Other issues signalled in Ciolacu’s letter to the European officials are: the politicization of EU funds; the government’s failure to engage in an open dialogue with the Parliament, the opposition or the social partners, in working out the National Recovery and Resilience Plan; the government’s focus on the total politicization of the public sector, as proves the removal from office of almost 1,000 school principals in one day; the politicization by OUG of the prefect’s offices, which will soon be followed by political appointments to the positions of secretary general of the local authorities; the government’s public and radical attack against the Ombudsperson, the members of the Constitutional Court of Romania and the Supreme Council of Magistrates.
“In the last two days, the sitting Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice have openly and publicly criticized a final decision taken by a court. The Prime Minister has publicly threatened union leaders and HoReCa representatives for organizing peaceful strikes against a set of decisions taken without consulting them,” the Social Democrat leader also wrote.