Major partners of Romania express concern about Rule of Law

On behalf of Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United States.

We, Romania’s international partners and allies, call on all parties involved in drafting emergency government ordinances modifying justice sector laws to avoid changes that would weaken the rule of law and Romania’s ability to fight crime or corruption.

Regrettably, official requests for a dialogue on these matters have remained unanswered since January of this year.

We are deeply concerned about the integrity of Romania’s justice system, which has been buffeted by unpredictable modifications that do not further Romania’s efforts to consolidate judicial progress. To the contrary, the cumulative effect of these modifications carries the risk of slowing the fight against corruption and undermining judicial independence. We expect the reform process to be based on an inclusive process, involving all stakeholders in broad consultations. That approach is to be effectuated for the well-being of all Romanians. This also requires all parties involved to reconsider the feedback and offers of support provided by domestic and international legal experts, in order to avoid further marring the remarkable judicial progress Romania has made over the past two decades.

The emergency ordinances apparently under discussion have the potential to impact on the independence of Romania’s judiciary, which would undermine Romanians’ and partners’ trust in the justice system, and in Romania’s Government as well.

Partner countries consider that it is imperative that Romania takes into account the recommendations issued by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission and GRECO, the European Parliament, the EU Council and the European Commission in its latest report within the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) and to ensure an efficient, transparent and impartial judiciary.

The expected changes carry the risk of breaching common values. Furthermore, they might have a lasting negative effect on the country´s economic development. The fact that Romania currently holds the EU Presidency, places Romania in a special position of responsibility. We urge the Romanian government and all parties involved to take due consideration of this joint statement and to reaffirm Romania´s political commitment to defend our shared values.