Senate President Tariceanu: European officials' statements fall under the campaign for elections to the EP

Senate President Calin Popescu-Tariceanu stated on Wednesday evening, when referring to the statements of some European officials on the justice issue, that they fall under the electoral campaign for the elections to the European Parliament and they cannot provide any concrete evidence regarding what the government has done wrong. "The European officials are not in the position, are not able, in this regard, to provide a single concrete element, on what the government did wrong. They are talking about some intentions to approve some ordinances which would have certain consequences. I haven't seen the draft ordinance, I don't know if they are able to define the government's intentions. Now, I very well know that this is not about granting impunity for anybody. But it is a serious situation, which was debated with the CCR [the Constitutional Court of Romania] that established that those five-judge panels that ruled different sentences in Romania were illegally established. (...) The second thing I want to point out about these statements is that they all fall under the electoral campaign for the elections to the European Parliament. Therefore, our colleagues of the EP [the European Parliament] found a topic to brag about in front of their own audience, look how vigilant we are and how we take action regarding the independence of justice in Romania," Calin Popescu-Tariceanu told Romania TV private television station. In his view, the double standard is enforced when European officials express their concern regarding Romania's justice and the messages are addressed in view of influencing the decisions in justice. "I am concerned, too, that justice in Romania work independently. Meantime, the government doesn't intervene in the functioning of justice in Romania, Parliament doesn't intervene in the functioning of justice in Romania, but, instead, I see that we receive from the EC [the European Commission] or from the EP various messages and words which violate or we are told: you intervene in justice so that the judiciary control measures imposed on Mrs Kovesi be lifted. It is obviously a double standard that I do not even understand, but which probably has an explanation in (...) near the elections to the EP. Discussions are carried out in a double standard, depending on the interests. It seems that Mrs Kovesi is preferred by some of the MEPs who want to impose us this choice, too," Tariceanu stated. The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) Chairman argued that he cares less who will be appointed European prosecutor, but he believes to be "an offense" that this office be held by a Romanian prosecutor who has been sanctioned two times. Tariceanu believes that the "excesses" which occurred in Romania's justice over the past years were made with the endorsement of the European Commission through the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM). "One of the matters which I start to believe is that all the abuses taking place in Romania, all the excesses which happened in the justice over the past years, they were made, at least with the knowledge of the EC, through the CVM and their endorsement. And this thing is very serious. (...) I believe that the EC, through the CVM has either not realized or closed its eyes to this serious component of corruption that was the corruption of power when the state was basically seized. The state institutions were confiscated by a small group of people, including Mrs Kovesi," Tariceanu said. On Wednesday the EC warned Romania to get back on the right track with the fair justice reform process and to refrain from any measures that would mean regress in respect to the rule of law. "Romania must urgently return to a fair reform process. This means steps forward, not backward, and refraining from any measure that could lead to the regress of all things accomplished in recent years,' EC First Vice President Frans Timmermans stated at a press conference in Brussels, following the weekly meeting of the College of Commissioners. Also on Wednesday EP President Antonio Tajani showed concern regarding the pressures of the Romanian state on former chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Laura Codruta Kovesi, who is the favorite candidate of the EU legislature for the new role as European prosecutor-in-chief, Reuters reports. Moreover, 12 embassies of several states - international partners and allies of Romania, including France, the US and Germany "expressed concerns regarding the rule of law" in Romania and request the parties involved in the drafting of the emergency ordinance in the Justice area "to avoid changes that would weaken the rule of law and Romania's ability to fight crime or corruption." The joint document, published on Fracebook pages of France's and Germany's Embassies is signed by the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, the United States of America and Sweden. AGERPRES (RO - author: Cristina Matei, editor: Antonia Nita; EN - author: Rodica State, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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