The scandal around the justice laws changes in Romania continued with a new statement of Liviu Dragnea, the president of the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD), who accused the European Commission (EC) representation in Romania of sending false information to Brussels on this subject.
The PSD leader had previously said that the EC was misinformed on the justice changes in Romania, as false information were sent from Bucharest to Brussels.
Referring to the critics of the EC president and vice president to the changes to the justice laws in Romania, Dragnea said at local Antena 3 news station that the reason for this is the fact that fake information has been sent to Brussels.
“Drop by drop, the lie started from the country and from Brussels, from both MEPs and officials there. They tell it to the Commissioner, to the Director General, creating some sort of a network,” Liviu Dragnea said.
"How is it possible that the European Commission representation in Romania sends false information?,” Dragnea added, giving as example a text that said: “The recent statements of the new prime minister Viorica Dancila show that, during her term, the government will demand a speedy process for both the adoption of the justice laws and a revised version of the Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes.”
According to Dragnea, this is false because the new PM had made no statements at that time, as she avoided the press before being officially appointed prime minister, and because the justice laws had already been adopted by the Parliament.
“How many other lies like that have been told this year? I believe this is not fair or honest to Romania,” the PSD leader also said.
The comments came after the EC president and vice president issued a statement last Wednesday expressing their concerns about the latest developments in Romania regarding the independence of the country’s judicial system and its capacity to fight corruption. Liviu Dragnea and Calin Popescu Tariceanu, the leaders of the Romanian Parliament and the heads of the ruling coalition, called EC’s statement “surprising” and said that the EC was misinformed by “various sources from Romania” about the changes included in the new justice laws.
The EC replied the next day, saying it was very well informed on these issues to which PSD leader Liviu Dragnea replied that, in the following period, he would present proof of lies that were sent from Bucharest to Brussels on this matter.
The Commission also reacted to the PSD leader's recent statement about the alleged lies sent to Brussels, saying that it "closely" follows the parliamentary process in Romania, the stakes and the potential risks of the amendments to the anti-corruption laws.
"The European Commission does not comment on the comments. Moreover, as a general context, the Commission has closely followed the parliamentary process in Romania and the evolution of discussions over the amendments to the laws of justice over several months. We are very well informed about this process, the stakes in the game, as well as the potential risks. We are frequently in contact with the government and Parliament of Romania, as well as with the judiciary and civil society, within the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism," according to the EC's response to local TV station Digi24.
Also at local Antena 3, the PSD leader commented the harsh messages the Romanian president sent to the new government at the swearing-in ceremony, saying that he “couldn’t have missed the moment.” President Klaus Iohannis asked the new cabinet to stop the “government hopping” and to take into consideration the signals from Romanians who went to the streets to protest against the changes to the justice laws.
“It meant a lot for us that the president accepted our proposal for PM. […] I still hope that president Iohannis will be more aware and will start to have access to more information than he does now, related to what happened in the past and this situation that continues. He’s the head of state, he can’t decline his responsibility. He can’t say he didn’t know, it’s not his job. He has to get involved, if necessary,” Dragnea said.
President Klaus Iohannis will go to Brussels on January 31 for a meeting with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, with the topics also including the changes to the justice laws and the fight against corruption in Romania. The PSD leader expressed his hope that Iohannis will discuss in Brussels, in plenary or in private, with president Junker about “the way in which information is collected from Romania.”
Irina Marica, [email protected]