The Romanian government is considering suing Brussels after the European parliament and Commission accused Bucharest of backtracking on its rule of law and anti-corruption reforms, according to Balkan Insight.
The website says that the Social Democrat-led government discussed whether to challenge the report at the European Court of Justice. “We hope to get justice, justice for Romanians,” said the head of the Justice Commission in the Romanian parliament, Social Democrat MP Nicusor Halici. “Europe has double standards. We feel the recommendations in the report are unfair.”
Since joining the EU in 2007 Romania and Bulgaria have been subject to a Cooperation and Verification Mechanism designed to monitor the progress of their anti-corruption efforts and safeguard the rule of law in the EU’s two poorest and most corrupt member states.
This year’s report, released on Tuesday, says that “recent developments have reversed the course of progress and called into question the positive assessment made back in January 2017.”
“The entry into force of the amended justice laws, the pressure on judicial independence in general and on the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) in particular, and other steps undermining the fight against corruption have reversed or called into question the irreversibility of progress,” the report says.
The commission makes eight “recommendations” for Bucharest, including the immediate suspension of judicial reforms and the dismissal of magistrates, the appointment of a new, suitably qualified, prosecutor to lead the NDA and the lifting immunity for former ministers.
“I regret that Romania has not only blocked its reform process, but has also reopened and retreated on issues for which progress has been made over the past decade,” said Frans Timmermans, first vice President of the European Commission at a press conference in Strasbourg.
Added to the damning report from the Commission, the European Parliament a resolution on Tuesday urging “the Parliament and the Government of Romania (…) to refrain from conducting any reform that would jeopardise respect for the rule of law, including the independence of the judiciary.”
The European Parliament said it was “very worried about the overhaul of the legislation governing the Romanian judicial system and criminal justice system, especially because it risks undermining structurally the independence of the judiciary and its ability to effectively combat corruption in Romania, as well as weakening the rule of law”.
While Prime Minister Viorica Dancila did not comment on any possible plan to sue the EU over the report she told news channel Anten3 on Tuesday night in a phone interview that she felt “disappointed and outraged” by it.