Fight against corruption in jeopardy in Romania?

Romania's constitutional court has ruled that it is unconstitutional for the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) to use the country's intelligence service for technical surveillance operations. In future the DNA must carry out its own technical surveillance of suspects - which according to the authority will slow down investigations. The Romanian press is at odds over the ruling.

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România Liberă (RO) /

Anti-corruption fight becoming more transparent

The Constitutional Court's ruling is correct, the daily România Liberă believes:

“In the short term the verdict will make the investigators' work more difficult. ... But if they have their own monitoring and wiretapping systems in the future, such procedures will ultimately be simplified. Moreover, the evidence gathered through such surveillance operations will in future be made public. When doubts arise the evidence can be examined - unlike that gathered by the secret service agents, which is not open to public scrutiny. The judgement that prohibits the secret service from carrying out such surveillance may nullify some ongoing investigations but that should be accepted in view of the fact that the entire procedure will be made more transparent and democratic.”

Revista 22 (RO) /

Role of intelligence service polarising the country

Hopefully the baby won't be tossed out with the bathwater in the fight against corruption, the weekly paper Revista 22 writes:

“For many years the domestic intelligence service SRI's participation in the fight against corruption was welcomed, above all because it brought results. The secret services were modernised and brought in line with Nato's standards. But then they became too powerful and almost completely eluded parliamentary control. Simultaneously, suspicions arose that the intelligence services were becoming politically involved behind the scenes. Now, however, their role isn't being discussed at all, and instead the debate is being politicised and polarised. That's also becoming clear with the controversies surrounding this ruling, which will fundamentally change the current approach. Such a move is justified in principle, nevertheless - as has been sufficiently demonstrated in the past - our zeal could take us out of the frying pan and into the fire.”