Despite calls to unity, the top politicians in Romania continued their feud on the National Day as the country celebrated 99 years since the Great Union and stepped into the year of the Centennial.
President Klaus Iohannis said that some local politicians come up with fictitious scenarios about “a different kind of state” as they fear justice. Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) leader Liviu Dragnea, stated that “some mistake partnership with servility,” while his governing coalition partner Calin Popescu-Tariceanu said that “it seems that Romanians can’t decide on their own future.”
Both Dragnea, who is the Chamber of Deputies speaker, and Tariceanu, who is Senate president, refused to join the National Day parade in Bucharest, despite being invited to the event by the Presidency. Prime minister Mihai Tudose, however, attended the parade.
The tensions in local politics have reached new highs as the Parliament is currently debating important changes to the justice laws and criminal codes, some that may reduce the local prosecutors’ independence and negatively impact the fight against corruption.
A message from the US State Department, which urged the Parliament not to adopt changes that may affect the rule of law in Romania, has brought to the surface the dispute between those who say that Romania should follow the recommendations of its allies, particularly the US and European Commission, and those who claim that Romanians should be left alone to decide what they want. This dispute was reflected in the National Day speeches.
“I would have wished that in the last year I had seen the policymakers more preoccupied with consolidating democracy and justice independence, and strengthening governing practices that benefit all Romanians, not just some groups. We see, however, a big preoccupation for identifying themes that are parallel to the Romanian’s expectations and the country’s long term strategic interests. Fearing justice and the rule of law, some invent scenarios about a different kind of state. I don’t know who can benefit from these fictions, but I’m sure that not Romania’s future,” Iohannis said in his speech at the National Day reception at Cotroceni Palace.
“Today we must once again make fundamental choices for our future. Do we continue with more consistency on the road that we took with great efforts and sacrifices a decade ago or do we risk going back to the past?” he added.
Meanwhile, PSD leader Liviu Dragnea said that Romania should, above all, be a sovereign state. “I find sovereignty a holy thing. Unfortunately, there are some who mistake partnerships with servility. It’s important for Romanians, for each Romanian, not to forget that we have an obligation to our forefathers and for our children, that this country is proud and developed and that Romanians live better and be sovereign. Let’s not forget that Romania is ours and should remain ours,” Dragnea said at a ceremony dedicated to three Romanian soldiers injured in Afghanistan.
“Today we live in a time when the citizens’ rights and freedoms are threatened, a period in which it seems that Romanians can’t decide their own future. I’m convinced that we will overcome these difficulties, like we have done in the last 25 years,” said former prime minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, the leader of PSD’s junior coalition partner ALDE.