Romania: special benefits for judiciary abolished
The Romanian Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday approved a reform under which judges, prosecutors and judicial officers will no longer receive special "service benefits". The payments, some of which are higher than the actual salaries, were introduced in 1997 to reduce officials' vulnerability to bribes. Romanian journalists explain why the politicians are suddenly targeting the judiciary.
Politicians' late revenge
The law is aimed at a group of people with whom politicians have long had a bone to pick, Evenimentul Zilei comments:
“Judges and prosecutors should understand that the vote was only retaliation for the many criminal investigations into the activities of politicians from all parties. Many of the trials ended in acquittals after the agreements with the SRI intelligence service [on the basis of which the secret service carried out wiretapping operations for the anti-corruption agency DNA] were cancelled and Laura Codruța Kövesi left the Agency. ... Parliament has asserted its power vis-à-vis the judiciary.”
A destructive wave of hatred
Ziare suspects that there is another motivation behind the law:
“The manner in which the liberals suddenly pounced on the magistrates' benefits, as if a signal had been given to do so, is creepy. ... It's as if after the disappearance of [ex-PSD leader] Dragnea and [ex-prime minister] Dăncilă and the resignation of the PSD from power, someone thought that the remaining feelings of hate and frustration needed to be controlled so that they don't turn against the new government. A false enemy was created not in the name of equality, but in the name of equalisation. The wave of hatred this produced led to a false solution that will probably result in the conservation of a system [because the constitutional court will probably overturn the law] that certainly needed to be corrected, but in an intelligent way.”