videoMartin Schulz says he would have attended the pro-justice protests in Romania

German social democrat politician Martin Schulz, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s rival in the upcoming German federal elections, said that he would have also participated in the protests organized in Romania earlier this year against the Government’s attempts to change the justice laws.

He made the statement during his Sunday electoral visit to the city of Wiesbaden, Germany, where he was questioned by a Romanian living in Germany.

The Romanian stopped Schulz to ask him if he still supports Liviu Dragnea, the president of the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD) in Romania and Chamber of Deputies speaker.

“At the beginning of this year, Romania has seen the biggest protests after the Revolution. Mr. Liviu Dragnea wanted to amend laws that would have reduced the punishments for corruption offenses. You made a video to support Mr. Dragnea in the elections…. (in November 2016 – e.n.) My question is: what do you tell the Romanians in Germany and Europe about the proposed changes to the law, which provided for the reduction of punishments for acts of corruption? And how do you position yourself in relation to Liviu Dragnea as a politician?,” the Romanian asked Martin Schulz.

According to the translation made by the Romanian and posted on his Facebook page, the German politician replied: “I will tell you three points that I also told Mr. Dragnea personally. These laws are absolutely wrong. And I would have also attended the demonstrations if I had been with you. Corruption must be eliminated from the roots, and I would personally solve the problem if there were any corrupt people in my party. By the way, I fired a vice-president of my faction, Adrian Severin (a Romanian MEP – e.n.), especially for that reason.”

The Romanian, whose name is Christian Irimia Balazs, posted the video of the discussion with Martin Schulz on his Facebook page, with subtitles in Romanian (video below). The video was shared more than 3,600 times.

In December 2016, before the parliamentary elections in Romania, Liviu Dragnea posted on his Facebook page a video with messages of support from several political leaders in Europe, including Martin Schulz, who was sending the message from his position as President of the European Parliament (video below). His message said: “It is a new chance for you to defend the values of our European Social Democratic family. More social equality, better wages, full defense of women’s rights, good education, promotion of a strong Romania and a strong European Union. Your experience in governing the country is an incomparable added value for all Romanians. I wish you every success and hope to see the new Romanian Government reinforcing social democracy on the European scene.”

In late January, after PSD won the parliamentary elections, the new Government passed an emergency ordinance (OUG 13) that would have brought important changes to the Criminal Law. This has triggered massive street protests in Romania, which made the Government change its mind and repeal the ordinance.

At the end of August, the Justice Ministry published a draft project amending the Justice Laws, one week after justice minister Tudorel Toader announced the main amendments. The announced changes once again generated criticism from magistrates, prosecutors, the civil society, as well as from President Klaus Iohannis, the US Embassy and the European Commission.

Irina Marica, [email protected]

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