Expert Forum, Freedom House, Grupul pentru Dialog Social and Centrul Roman de Politici Europene condemn the Parliament’s appointment procedure of the Ombudsman which was done in a non-transparent manner and without having a consensus from all political parties and the civil society.
Transparently selecting a credible Ombudsman, politically independent, with a good professional reputation and immaculate integrity is essential for the operation of the rule of law. The Ombudsman is the only institution that can challenge Government Emergency Ordinances at the Constitutional Court. The events of 2012 were possible through a series of unconstitutional Government Emergency Ordinances. Exactly for this reason “appointing, in a transparent manner, an Ombudsman that would be accepted by all political parties” was one of the Ponta’s government commitment to Brussels at that time. This is a minimal standard in a democratic society and does not imply modifying Romania’s Constitution but only observing its text and essence.
We’d also want to draw attention to the fact that unconstitutional G.E.O.s also significantly impact the economy. The new and controversial insolvency Code, rejected by the Constitutional Court last year, was also adopted through a G.E.O., and blocking it was only possible because of an unconstitutionality intimation from the Ombudsman. The most modifications to the legal framework that affect in the first place businesses, for example, the new taxes included in the Fiscal Code such as the new fuel excise or the pole tax, can have a major impact on the whole economy, were also adopted through G.E.O., for which the urgency required by the Constitution is at least questionable. In the absence of a professional and independent Ombudsman, with the public’s interests in mind, this kind of G.E.O. will never be contested.
We ask, therefore, a new appointment process for an Ombudsman, with transparent criteria and through the consent of all political forces in power or opposition. We also hope that in this endeavour we will be joined by the business community, which is often affected by the Government Emergency Ordinances.
Photo source: Antena 3