The former chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate, Laura Codruta Kovesi, has now become the top candidate in the race for the position of European Chief Prosecutor
France will withdraw its candidate
for the position of European Chief Prosecutor and will back the candidacy
of Laura Codruta Kovesi. The announcement was made by the Romanian Presidency
following phone talks between presidents Klaus Iohannis and Emanuel Macron.
Although affiliated to rival European parties, Macron promised Iohannis he
would withdraw the candidacy of Jean-Francois Bohnert, who had been backed by
the former Council of the European Union, presided by Romania in the first
semester of 2019. The European Parliament instead supported Kovesi's candidacy,
both in the last and in the current tenures.
European Parliament President
David Sassoli sent a letter to the Council of the European Union, recalling the
full support of MEPs for Romania's candidate. Under the law, the European chief
prosecutor is appointed jointly by the Parliament and the Council of the EU,
for a seven-year term, which cannot be renewed. Having spearheaded the fight
against corruption for years, but also believed to have instrumented an abusive
prosecution system, Kovesi has often been labeled as Romania's most powerful
woman. Shortly before being sacked last year in June, following a
Constitutional Court ruling, Kovesi admitted during a debate venued at the UN
headquarters in New York, that Romania's greatest challenge remains the
preservation of the independence of judges and prosecutors.
"There have been
repeated attempts at modifying anticorruption legislation to limit the
legislative instruments used by anticorruption prosecutors or to decriminalize
certain offences. There have been cases where requests to lift the immunity of
politicians charged with corruption were turned down. The whole justice system
has seen attacks by means of fake news or public statements aimed at weakening
public credibility in the system", Kovesi said, claiming the Social-Democratic
Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in power have tried to rein in
the fight against corruption and subordinate magistrates. Beyond controversies,
the facts speak volumes. In the last five years with Kovesi at its helm, the
Directorate has prosecuted 14 ministers and former ministers and 53 MPs. Of
these, 27 were handed final sentences. During the same period, the Directorate seized over 2.3 million dollars in assets. The recently appointed pro-European
Prime Minister in the Republic of Moldova, Maia Sandu, has offered Laura
Codruta Kovesi the leadership of the Anti-graft Prosecutor's Office in Moldova.
Pundits believe however Kovesi is likely to become the new head of the European
Prosecutor's Office, which is set to begin its activity next year.
(Translated by V. Palcu)