Romania: ministers flout protective measures

Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban is in trouble after a photograph emerged showing him and members of his cabinet at a party in the government building smoking and drinking alcohol and not wearing protective masks. Orban immediately turned himself in after the picture became public and paid a fine of over 500 euros. This won't repair the damage to his image and credibility, commentators write.

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Ziare (RO) /

Compromising their own accomplishments

Journalist Victor Pitigoi says on the news website Ziare that with their faux pas they have destroyed everything they worked so hard for during the crisis:

“I am sorry that this escapade by the five ministers has cast an undeserved shadow on the important government work they have done during the pandemic and is even harming their credibility. What are ordinary citizens supposed to say when they know that they must wear masks and not smoke indoors, and that they must respect the rules of the institutions, while those who are supposed to set a good example break the rules just because it makes them feel good? ... The fine is one thing, Covid-19 is something else. ... They could infect five family members just by going home. And then five employees at the office the next day, and each of these people will infect others.”

Evenimentul Zilei (RO) /

Government treats the people with contempt

The newspaper Evenimentul Zilei, which is generally critical of the government, is outraged:

“Just a human slip-up? Rubbish! This is about the politicians' attitude towards their citizens, whose fate they decide. And that attitude is characterised by indifference. If they cared about the citizens they would show solidarity with them and not put themselves above them. They would submit themselves first to the hardships and deprivations they introduce, and be ashamed not to do so. From President Klaus Iohannis, who always addresses the Romanians using 'you' and wags his finger at them as if he were talking to kindergarten children, to the members of the government who don't give a damn about the laws they impose on the people, including fines running into millions, the Romanian people are treated with nothing but contempt by their leaders.”