The leftist Government in Romania survives no-confidence vote
The government formed by the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats this week easily passed the test of a no-confidence motion initiated by the National Liberal Party and backed by the Save Romania Union and the People’s Movement Party in opposition. The Cabinet was criticised, among other things, for the changes to the Code of Criminal Procedure, for reducing the powers of the country’s president and for its negative economic record. According to the document, the current Government brought the inflation rate up to 5.4%, a 5-year high, while the frequent changes of the Fiscal Code damaged the fiscal policy. Moreover, the Government failed to build motorways, as it had promised. Prime Minister Viorica Dancila is in fact viewed as a puppet of the Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea. Here is Save Romania Union’s senator Radu Mihail:
“Since the beginning of the year, when you were sworn in as Prime Minister, you have done nothing but continue to harm the national economy, generate panic and distrust, and further deepen negative economic developments.”
In response, the Prime Minister said the no-confidence motion is riddled with false statements, lacking rational arguments, and is a mere political trick of the right-of-centre opposition. Viorica Dancila:
“I had not expected the entire motion to be an enumeration of untruths, a presentation of a different reality made in bad faith. You will not even acknowledge the most obvious good things that have happened under this government.”
Thousands of people protested near Parliament during the debates and vote on the motion, in solidarity with its initiators.
Reactions to the changes of criminal legislation
The special parliamentary committee in charge with the justice laws decided, during debates on the Criminal Code, that the statute on criminal liability should be reduced for certain offences. For instance, offenders sentenced to less than 10 years in prison will be able to get out after serving half the time, as opposed to two-thirds at present. Another change refers to extended confiscation, which would no longer be applicable for money laundering and organised crime offences.
The Government says the changes brought to the Criminal Codes, which have been heavily criticised by the Opposition, civil society and some of the magistrates, are in line with the rulings of the Constitutional Court of Romania and of the European Court of Human Rights, and are aimed at preventing human rights violations and slips in the judicial system. Critics however accuse the Power of seeking to help the politicians who have problems with the law. The embassies of 12 Western countries on Thursday called on all the parties involved in amending the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure to avoid changes that would weaken the rule of law or Romania’s capacity to fight corruption and crime in general. President Klaus Iohannis and the Opposition believe the concerns voiced by these embassies are justified. Conversely, the head of the special committee in charge with the justice laws, the former Social Democrat justice minister Florin Iordache, vowed that the changes to the Criminal Codes are in line with all relevant regulations. The Foreign Ministry said it took note of the views expressed by the 12 states and added that strengthening the rule of law and fighting corruption are among the priorities of the Government.
President Iohannis at the summer European Council meeting
President Klaus Iohannis took part in the recent meeting of the European Council in Brussels, focusing on migration. The Europeans have decided, among other things, to build migrant processing centres outside the EU, so as to deter people from jeopardising their lives by trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe. The Council also decided to extend sanctions against Russia for annexing Crimea by another six months. The topics discussed by the participants also included the Brexit talks and the Union’s economic and monetary reform. President Iohannis called for maintaining an attractive investment climate in the European Union, and said Romania supported an efficient and fair corporate taxation system, adapted to the new business models specific to the digital economy.
Romania’s objectives at the NATO Summit
Romania’s Supreme Defence Council met in Bucharest to analyse and approve Romania’s objectives at the NATO Summit to be held on July 11 and 12 in Brussels. From Romania’s perspective, the Summit in Brussels is highly important, aimed to boost the projects of consolidation of the defence and deterrence postures on NATO’s Eastern flank and ensure stability in the eastern neighbourhood, especially in the Black Sea region. The Country’s Supreme Defence Council also approved the number of armed forces to be made available next year for missions and operations outside Romania’s borders. As compared to 2018, their number has been increased by 11%.