To the President of the European Commission
Members of the European Commission
Secretary-General of the European Commission
This is to inform you that the putsch against the rule of law in Romania, started in the summer of 2012, continues in full force. On Tuesday, December 10, the Parliament has given a full waiver of criminal liability to MPs involved in corruption and decriminalized conflict of interest. Through these amendments, full impunity for powerful politicians returns to Romania, bringing us back to the early 90s, invalidating the work of DNA, ANI and brave judges.
- MPs are no longer covered by the Criminal Code in respect to corruption and abuse in office. This undermines the Constitutional principle of equality before the law. The immediate effect of this provision would be that all on-going investigations will stop, all pending trials will end, and all convicted MPs will be freed. According to the DNA, 28 MPs are in the latter two situations.
- Conflict of interest has been decriminalized: mayors, MPs, ministers, and public servants are no longer covered by the conflict of interest and administrative acts such as public procurement contracts are also exempted from the legal coverage of this crime. Thus, enormous public resources are left unprotected in a country where conflict of interest is rampant. According to the Integrity Agency ANI, the entering in force of this provision will invalidate investigations against 25 MPs and 79 locally elected officials found to be in conflict of interest (this excluding dozens of civil servants).
In other words, by and large, a tenth of the MPs will be direct beneficiaries of the provisions they voted in favor of yesterday.
Please note that a general amnesty and pardon law, covering the vast majority of crimes, postponed in yesterday’s session, has just been placed on next week’s Parliament agenda. This law would have a huge impact on Romania’s Schengen accession.
Just like in the summer of 2012, everything happens overnight, in a rush, with no consultations, in total lack of transparency and full disrespect for the citizens, and without even asking the opinion of the judicial institutions involved.
As the Romanian democratically elected institutions fail to represent us, we, as European citizens, turn to you to protect our rights, guaranteed by the Treaty.
- We ask you to urgently establish an exceptional mechanism to reassess Romania’s compliance with the Copenhagen criteria, as well as with all the other commitments as a EU member state, and enforce credible penalties in case of default. Among options are suspending the voting rights in the Council and/or access to European funds.
- We call upon you to set up a new mechanism, on top of the CVM, to ensure that the rule of law remains the cornerstone of the European establishment in each and every of its members. Romania proves these months that the compliance with the Copenhagen criteria is not irreversible after accession.
Freedom House Romania
Institutul pentru Politici Publice
Centrul pentru Jurnalism Independent
Grupul pentru Dialog Social
Centrul Roman de Politici Europene