EU chiefs warn Romania over legal reforms

14 Jan 19

European Union bosses have warned Romania there will be “no compromise” in the fight against corruption, as it took over the bloc’s presidency.

Romania began its six-month term of the EU’s rotating presidency on 11 January after months of warnings and concern from the commission over the government’s proposed changes to its national judicial system.

Brussels had previously called for Romania’s left-leaning government to scrap its judicial reforms, which would “seriously weaken” the fight against corruption.

At a ceremony to launch Romania’s EU presidency, commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said: “The European Union is made from compromise, but when it comes to human rights, when it comes to the rule of law, when it comes to respect for the rule of law, when it comes to the struggle against corruption, no compromise is possible."

The Romanian government has launched numerous draft bills to overhaul criminal law and procedures to change how the judiciary works.

Some of these changes have already passed the Romanian parliament and come into force, in a move which the Social Democrat-led government say will “correct” the justice laws.

Donald Tusk, president of the EU Council, said the country could become “a good example or a dire warning” and cautioned against the proposed changes.

“To those in the EU who might think that playing outside the agreed rules and cutting corners means strengthen – you are wrong. It means weakness,” he said.

“To those working hard to defend European values, our freedoms and rights, I say – keep fighting.”

 

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