Romania’s Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu has explained in Brussels the situation created by the government’s attempt to amend the criminal codes under an emergency decree.
The coalition Government formed by the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, which took the reins of power following the December 2016 parliamentary elections, will carry on the fight against corruption, and the amendments to the Criminal Code, meant to harmonize it with the rulings of the Constitutional Court, will be made only in Parliament. This is what Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu promised at the meeting in Brussels with the First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans.
Clarifications were needed given that the European Commission had disapproved of the Grindeanu Cabinet’s attempt to amend the criminal law under an emergency decree, which would have eased sanctions for abuse of power, thus fueling suspicions that the measure was only meant to serve certain politicians involved in cases of corruption.
The European official hailed the abrogation of the decree, saying it was a step forward towards returning on the right path in the fight against corruption. A path whose final point would be the elimination of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism in the field of the judiciary, imposed by the European partners following Romania’s accession to the EU. According to Frans Timmermans it is a good thing that the Government wants to get the Romanian legislation in line with the EU regulations and to correct what the Constitutional Court in Bucharest had ruled as unclear or illegal, but this can only be done with complete openness and transparency.
Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu assured his interlocutor that this is exactly how things will be done. Sorin Grindeanu: “In the future, as regards regulations in the field of the judiciary, we would like to have such things decided in Parliament, after thorough debates involving public institutions, NGOs and, of course, the MPs, in order to have the rulings of the Constitutional Court regarding the criminal codes approved in Parliament.”
In order to render the future decisions of his Cabinet credible, Sorin Grindeanu is considering appointing as Minister of Justice a person with no political affiliations. That person would replace the Social Democrat Florin Iordache, who had to resign just a few days following the abrogation of the controversial government decree.
On the other hand, the street is not happy with just one resignation and calls for the entire Government to step down, as it no longer enjoys people’s trust. In Parliament, the President of the Chamber of Deputies and also President of the Social Democratic Party Liviu Dragnea, who has also been severely criticized lately, has announced that the MPs who make up the majority in Parliament will endorse a law rejecting Decree no.13, in order to leave no room for further speculations. We recall that Decree 13 was abrogated under another decree, which is to be endorsed by Parliament, but there are people who claim that the rejection of the first one is a must in order to have all its effects removed.