Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Bucharest last weekend to protest an overhaul of Romania's judicial system. It was the latest in a series of protests against the planned reforms.
Now the European Commission is warning that the proposed changes would undermine the judiciary's independence and Romania's commitment to fight corruption and organised crime.
Poland is already facing sanctions for a similar move last year.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told euronews that EU condemnation fails to see the bigger picture.
"Our Western brothers were very lucky post-WWII that they were on the right side of the Iron Curtain. We should be rather supported by Brussels and other capital cities in our efforts to actually build better standards fighting corruption".
The European Parliament has been monitoring the issue. MEP Ana Gomes, a member of the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, visited Romania in November to speak to members of civil society.
"They all complained there is a political blockage so it is not surprising that the public is in the streets asking that issues of corruption receives a special attention from the european authorities," Gomes said.
If the reforms go ahead, Romania will join Poland, Hungary and Malta as countries at risk of falling short of fundamental EU standards.
"We will be debating the threats to the rule of law in Romania in the next plenary session at the begining of February in Strasbourg," Siegfried Muresan, a Romanian MEP with the European People's Party, told euronews. "So all lights are red in all the instituitions of the Union. We are all aware that a government which had 100,000 people in the streets last Saturday is doing someting against the will of its own people".