Romania’s major international partners express new concerns about Rule of Law
Twelve of Romania’s most important international partners have sent, through their embassies, a call on the Romanian Government to refrain from any changes to the judiciary laws that would weaken the rule of law and fight against corruption in the country.
The letter was signed by the embassies of Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United States.
“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,” the letter starts.
“Regrettably, official requests for a dialogue on these matters have remained unanswered since January of this year,” the document continues.
“We are deeply concerned about the integrity of Romania's justice system, which has been buffeted by unpredictable changes 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,” the embassies also wrote in their statement.
The full letter was published on Facebook by several embassies (see text below).
The embassies’ letter comes on the same day that European Commission first vice president Frans Timmermans issued a strong warning to Romania, asking the country’s Government to refrain from measures that would weaken the independence of the judiciary.
The Romanian Government was reportedly preparing to adopt one or more emergency ordinances to change the Criminal Code and other laws concerning the functioning of the justice system on Wednesday, April 3. The emergency ordinances, pushed by the ruling party – the Social Democratic Party (PSD) have been on the Government’s agenda for several weeks, but the European Commission has been pressing prime minister Viorica Dancila to give up this initiative.
Romania’s international partners have been closely monitoring the ruling coalition’s initiatives related to the reform of the judiciary sector voicing their concerns and even urging the Government and Parliament not to adopt any changes that would weaken the rule of law and weaken the fight against corruption.
However, the ruling coalition in Bucharest has moved forward with its reforms, denying that they had any negative impact on the judiciary.
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