A severe threat to justice and rule of law in Romania
The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group in the European Parliament has condemned executive orders (ordinances) from the new Romanian government that enact a broad pardon for various crimes and put an end to ongoing criminal investigations and court procedures. ECR Romanian MEP and leading anti-corruption campaigner Monica Macovei argued the move seeks to overturn progress in Romania’s anticorruption fight.
Mrs Macovei says the move is clearly aimed at enabling socialist politicians – including the governing Social Democrat PSD party’s President Liviu Dragnea – to have criminal convictions overturned. Mr Dragnea had aspired to become Prime Minister, but his 2016 conviction for electoral fraud prevented him from taking the post.
The ECR is urging the European Commission to look urgently into the order, which could seriously set back the anticorruption efforts taken in Romania in recent years.
Monica Macovei MEP (RO) said:
“We strongly condemn this initiative, which is a severe threat against justice and anticorruption efforts in Romania. The PSD party never discussed this matter during the election campaign and nobody believes this is aimed at reducing prison overcrowding, but at getting the government’s political allies off the hook.
“The European Commission’s has rightly recognised the progress that has been made over the past ten years in its Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) report published yesterday, but it also recognised that these emergency ordinances could turn back that clock by ten years and affect ‘the results of the fight against corruption.’ The Romanian people are now bracing for a long and bitter fight to defend the rule of law and the anticorruption progress we have made so far, and we will call on the European Commission to defend our cause.”
ECR Civil Liberties spokesperson Helga Stevens MEP (BE) added:
“The European Commission has rightly questioned the real motives behind this move, but they need to urgently ask serious questions of the new government. This move smacks of socialists helping themselves and their political friends to wipe corruption charges from their records, and to rehabilitate them into high office. We intend to take this matter further in the parliament’s civil liberties committee to call for European Commission action.”
ECR Group Chairman Syed Kamall MEP (UK) concluded:
“Romania has made progress in the fight against corruption but this move has the potential to turn back the clock many years. Corruption in one EU Member State can impact on the economies and security of other Member States, so the ECR Group calls on the Commission to follow through on its concerns and begin taking some action to protect the progress that Romania has made in the anticorruption fight.”