A new parliamentary session kicked off on Thursday with MPs mainly concerned with debating and amending the justice and education laws. In the first day of the second ordinary parliamentary session of the year, a special Parliament committee has been created with a view to debating the justice laws. Also Thursday, the Senate voted on the draft law on the protection of whistleblowers. The document was sent back for re-examination by president Klaus Iohannis, and the Senate’s judicial committee issued a report including a number of amendments. USR in opposition has criticized the activity of Energy Minister Virgil Popescu, saying they will file a simple motion against him.
According to the regulations, on the first day of the parliamentary session, in the plenary sitting of each chamber, the members of the standing bureau are elected – the vice-chairs, secretaries and treasurer of the Chamber of Deputies, with the exception of the speaker, who is elected at the beginning of the legislature.
The election of the leaders of the two Chambers is done at the proposal of the parliamentary groups, in accordance with their share given by the political configuration of each chamber of Parliament and the negotiation of floor leaders. The lists of candidates to the standing bureaus are fully subject to the vote of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate and are approved by the open vote of the majority of the MPs or senators in attendance.
Among the priorities of the parliamentary session is a package of education laws, as well as amending justice legislation, the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure.
At the same time, another priority of the session is the adoption of a package of security laws, according to the national leader of the National Liberal Party (PNL), Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca.
The lawmakers will also decide on a request for re-examination of the law on the protection of whistleblowers in public interest filed by President Klaus Iohannis.
Another item on the agenda is measures to be approved by the government by emergency ordinance regarding energy price subsidies.
Several bills on social themes are also expected to be discussed in the governing coalition and that could be submitted to Parliament. The Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) has filed a bill on state aid for wood heating.
The Social Democratic Party (PSD) has suggested an increase in the minimum state pension, the value of the pension computation point and the minimum wage.
Special committee on laws of justice, established in Parliament
The Parliament approved, on Thursday, in a plenary session, to establish a special committee on justice laws, with 273 votes for, 48 against and 2 abstentions.
According to the adopted decision, the joint special parliamentary committee for the examination of legislative initiatives in the field of justice will have as its objectives the examination, both in the legislative procedure at the first referred Chamber, and in the legislative procedure at the decision-making Chamber, of the legislative initiatives with an impact on justice in order to reform the judiciary system, in the parliamentary procedure, as well as those that are going to enter the parliamentary procedure, during the whole period of the activity of the Committee.
Also, the committee will prepare reports on these legislative initiatives.
The committee will be made up of 25 members and will function for a period of 60 days from the date of establishment.
Save Romania Union (USR) deputy Stelian Ion criticized the establishment of the committee.
“More than 4 years after the Iordache committee, we see a similar committee in which they want to bury the laws of justice,” the USR deputy and former Justice minister said. Stelian Ion said that several versions of these laws were made public, the last one in August, noting that “there are only a few changes in form, packaging, in the rest they are sprinkled with harmful articles that take the legislation a step backwards”.
“With such an approach, we can’t hope for a more efficient, fairer justice system. It seems that they want to make the justice system a key to the governing parties. We will participate in the committee and try to correct it,” Stelian Ion added.
AUR (Alliance for the Union of Romanians) deputy George Simion announced that AUR does not support the justice laws.
“We are totally against this package of laws, it is an obedient form (…) AUR will vote against all proposals related to this committee,” Simion said.
The unaffiliated deputy Dumitru Coarna has also criticized the package of justice laws.
“We are facing a fundamental examination for constitutionality. (…) There is no need to establish a committee to see that this package of laws is an attack on sovereignty and constitutionality,” Coarna said.
Senate adopts law on protection of whistleblowers
On Thursday, the Senate adopted the law on the protection of whistleblowers in the public interest, re-examined as a result of the request made by President Klaus Iohannis, the objections made by the head of state being taken over.
There were 76 votes in favour, eight against and three abstentions.
The law was initiated by the Government, adopted by the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, was verified by the Constitutional Court and sent back to Parliament for re-examination as a result of the president’s request.
The normative act establishes the general framework for the protection of persons who report violations of the law, which have occurred or are likely to occur within authorities, public institutions, other legal entities under public law, as well as within legal entities under private law.
The law aims at the transposition into national legislation of Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of October 23, 2019 regarding the protection of persons who report violations of Union law.
The Senate in plenary meeting appropriated, by vote, the report of the Legal Committee and admitted the request for re-examination of the President of Romania, the head of state’s objections being taken over.
According to a Senate amendment, anonymous reports must include the quality of the person making the report.
The Chamber of Deputies is the decision-making body in this case.
Compiled from Agerpres