France’s Embassy in Bucharest has posted on its Facebook page a joint statement on behalf of 12 countries, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and U.S., asking the Romanian authorities to abstain from any amendments on the justice laws that would weaken the rule of law.
„We, Romania’s international partners and allies, call all the parties involved in drafting the emergency ordinances of the government which amend the legislation on judiciary, to abstain from any amendments that would weaken the rule of law and Romania’s capacity of fighting against crime and corruption”, the statement says.
The signatories argue that their official calls for dialogue on these topics „have unfortunately received no answer since early January this year”.
„We are deeply concerned about the integrity of the Romanian judiciary system, which has been shaken up by the unpredictable amendments that do not strengthen Romania’s efforts to boost progress on judiciary. On the contrary, the cumulative effect of those amendments risk slowing down the fight against corruption and to undermine the independence of justice.”
The embassies argue that they expect the reform process to be based on an approach that would involve all parties, through wide consultations, for the sake of the Romanian citizens.
„This also needs that all involved actors consider the opinions and the support proposals provided by the Romanian and foreign legal experts, in order to avoid an even greater alteration of the remarkable progress on the judiciary registered by Romania in the past two decades”.
The joint statement says that the emergency ordinances „that seem underway” can have a negative impact over the independence of the Romanian justice, which „would weaken the confidence of the Romanian citizens and of Romania’s partners in the judiciary system and also in the Romanian Government”.
The diplomatic missions of the 12 states underlined that it is essential for Romania take due account of the recommendations of the European bodies, such as the Venice Commission and GRECO, of the European Parliament, the EU Council and the European Commission and to ensure a transparent, efficient and unbiased justice.
„The anticipated amendments risk violating the common values. Besides, they might have a long-term negative impact over the country’s economic growth. The fact that Romania is holding the presidency of the EU presidency at present gives it a further special responsibility.
We urge the Romanian Government and all involved actors to properly consider this joint statement and to reaffirm Romania’s political commitment to support our common values”, the statement concludes.