Romania: prison sentence for ex-minister Udrea
Former tourism minister Elena Udrea was once one of Romania's most influential politicians, but now the country's Supreme Court has found her guilty of corruption and sentenced her to six years in prison. In 2012, before the election, she had organised a boxing gala at the government's expense in an attempt to enhance her image. Udrea tried to leave the country shortly before the sentence was passed but was arrested at the Bulgarian border.
EU law trumps highest national court
The fact that the High Court gave EU law precedence over national law in its ruling and even ignored a decision by the Romanian Constitutional Court sets an important precedent, writes journalist Dan Tapalaga on website G4Media.ro:
“The Romanian Constitutional Court had ruled in the Udrea case that the five-judge panel was unlawfully composed. But the High Court ignored this decision by giving precedence to EU law. This is an important precedent for the application of the ECJ ruling [of December 2021], especially as some judges will have to reckon with disciplinary proceedings for giving precedence to EU law over national law.”
Was there a leak in the justice system?
Commentator Ioana Ene Dogioiu from Spotmedia wonders why Udrea took flight so suddenly:
“Until a few days ago things were looking good for Udrea juridically, with indications that her request for the annulment of the verdict on the boxing gala would be granted. ... But now it's worth asking why she so suddenly left the place where just a few hours before the verdict she still believed it would be postponed - albeit perhaps not in her favour. Premonition? Or was secret information leaked here? I think the Romanian state now has a duty to clarify what happened, because the incident could be extremely serious.”