Romania adopts milder legislation on corruption
Despite warnings from the European Commission the Romanian parliament has approved the controversial judicial reform which foresees shorter statutes of limitation for crimes of corruption. The opposition has pointed out that Liviu Dragnea, the leader of the ruling PSD who has already been convicted of corruption in the first instance, stands to benefit from the new legislation. What will be the repercussions of the decision?
Resistance is futile
Journalist Sebastian Zachmann voices outrage at the the way Liviu Dragnea is behaving in his blog with Adevărul:
“The PSD boss has renounced any semblance of decent conduct. He should have abstained or stayed away from the vote (as usual), but this time Liviu Dragnea took part. In effect this means that the deputy Dragnea has voted to save the convicted [in a court of first instance] Dragnea. The changes in criminal law will put an end to these proceedings. ... So what happens now? The opposition will appeal the new criminal laws before the Constitutional Court, but it has very little chance of succeeding. The changes instituted by the PSD are immoral but constitutional. No one will be able to prevent the new rules from coming into effect.”
A clash looming at the EU summit
The effects of the Bucharest parliamentary decision reach far beyond Romania, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says:
“In approving the legislation the Romanian government is snubbing the EU Commission, which had warned that its reaction would be swift and harsh. Now it is quite possible that the EU summit in Romania in two weeks' time will be dominated by a clash between Brussels and Bucharest. But the government clearly fears the damage to the country's reputation less than the pending trials against members of its own ranks. And at the individual level they have good reason to do so: Romania's judiciary has made progress in the fight against corruption in recent years.”