Romania's anti-corruption boss forced to go

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on Monday dismissed the head of the country's anti-corruption agency, Laura Codruta Kövesi. He had initially opposed the government's decision but bowed to pressure following a ruling by the constitutional court that supported the government line. Iohannis had his spokeswoman announce the decision. Not just Romania's media are alarmed at the repercussions of the affair.

Open/close all quotes
Revista 22 (RO) /

President with his tail between his legs

Iohannis's behaviour in this situation was pathetic, Revista 22 comments disappointedly:

“This time Klaus Iohannis, who in the past so often backed Kövesi, didn't even manage to squeeze out a few words of appreciation and sympathy for her and above all for the work she did over years of service. He didn't have the courage to say that he was implementing an unjust decision that was foisted on him with a heavy heart, that he was rejecting her as a person because his oath of office on the constitution obliges him to. ... At the very least for tactical reasons, if not out of compassionate solidarity, this Mr Iohannis shouldn't have crept out the back door like a thief caught red-handed. Pathetic, Mr President!”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

EU could easily intervene

The assault on the rule of law is no less dramatic than those in Poland and Hungary, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung warns, calling on the EU to intervene:

“Its position vis-à-vis Romania would be stronger than vis-à-vis Warsaw and Budapest. The country is subject to a so-called 'Control and Verification mechanism' which was enshrined in the accession agreement in 2007 because from the point of view of the rule of law Romania wasn't really ready for membership. Also thanks to this mechanism the judiciary is now independent and for the most part works effectively. If the EU doesn't make emphatic use of this instrument now it will become blunt. Brussels would then be partly to blame for another member turning its back on the rule of law.”

Trud (BG) /

Kövesi went too far

For Trud Kövesi's dismissal is justified because she made improper use of the means at her disposal in fighting corruption:

“Apart from those who deserved to spend years on end behind bars, many people were also jailed in order to intimidate them or steal their business, or simply because they were disobedient. Just imagine: six million Romanians were spied on. ... There were so many illegal wiretaps that the Romanian courts had to acquit over one hundred people in the month of June alone. Who knows how many of the accused will now file countercharges. Romania faces a tough battle - against corruption, because this battle must go on, but also against the 'Kövesi model'.”