Brussels to Romania: "Hands off judicial independence"

Brussels to Romania: "Hands off judicial independence"
By Stefan Grobe
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EU warns Bucharest not to interfere with the justice system and not to stop fighting against corruption


The European Parliament has debated Romania’s recent raft of controversial judicial reforms.

The government was asked to respect the independence of justice and and to stop backsliding on corruption.

Ska Keller, a German Green MEP: "Your government makes it legal for officials to abuse their power, your government will allow conicted criminals to get away with the stolen money and not have it confiscated.

You are de facto legalising corruption with that reform. But corruption makes people lose the trust in the state and in democracy."

During the summer, Romania forced out anti-corruption prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, who had charged many politicians.

In Strasbourg, Romania's Prime Minister Viorica Dancila fired back: "The new laws give independence back to the judiciary.

There will be no politicians making decisions about appointments or dismissals of judges. The judicial independence is total and not at all restricted."

During the summer anti-corruption protests were met with police brutality.

EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans is now threatening legal steps: "If the commission need to be brutal in our assement, we will be. If we will need other instruments at our disposal, we will use them.

This is not a threat, this is just the commission laying out where our role is and that we are the guardian of the treaty and we need to take this role very seriously indeed."

Ironically, on January 1st, Romania takes over the EU rotating presidency from Austria.

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