EU criticises Romania's judicial reform

The Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans has once again called on the Romanian government to renounce its planned judicial reform. The Commission sees the independence of the judges and the separation of powers in danger. Prime Minister Viorica Dancila has rejected the accusations. What fate awaits Romania now?

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Adevărul (RO) /

Sanctions won't be long in coming

Romania will soon be in the crosshairs of the EU Parliament, Adevărul predicts:

“Romania could soon be hit by sanctions similar to the sanction proceedings against Hungary and Poland. But they may be translated into action far more quickly because we share a special status with Bulgaria: that of a state whose membership is linked to progress reports. This is why Vice-President of the EU Commission Frans Timmermans insisted on the special importance of the report during the debate. ... And that brings us to the heart of the matter: on 1 November the EU Parliament will vote on a joint resolution of all the parliamentary groups. Given the ultra-critical position adopted by the Parliament vis-à-vis Romania's PSD-ALDE government, one can imagine what to expect.”

Krónika (RO) /

EU only approves of obedient Eastern Europeans

With a hint of irony Krónika explains what it believes Hungary, Poland and now Romania too all have in common from Brussels' point of view:

“All these countries once belonged to the socialist Eastern bloc. ... They are the new actors in the EU and their markets are welcome but they're still too wet behind the ears to provide answers to key political questions. Eastern Europeans. Second-class citizens. Those who need to be monitored. Not always, of course. Only when they don't follow the directives to the letter. ... As long as they reverently obey the guidelines set by the EU institutions they are exemplary in their development. But when they lose sight of the donkey tender they start moving backwards. Then all of a sudden there's corruption and no more rule of law.”

Público (PT) /

Don't just scrutinise Hungary and Poland

The threat posed by so-called "illiberal democracies" is not just limited to the governments in Hungary or Poland, writes social democratic MEP Paule Range in Público:

“It's obvious that the principles of the separation of powers, the independence of justice, press freedom and freedom of expression are also in jeopardy in Slovakia and Romania. ... But in the European and Portuguese press the advancing dismantlement of democracy in Romania and Slovakia are barely mentioned. While the press frequently contains critical reports on Orbán and Kaczyński the names Liviu Dragnea or Robert Fico tend to be omitted. ... Clearly the rule of law in Budapest and Warsaw is worth more than it is in Bucharest or Bratislava. This double standard is incomprehensible and unacceptable.”