For quite a while now, representatives of the EU and its institutions have relentlessly expressed their “concern” over the political situation in Hungary and Poland, accusing the respective governments of undermining what is vaguely described as the “rule of law”.
Given these antecedents, it is astonishing to observe that the current situation in Romania does not seem to trigger any such concerns.
The PSD post-communist government is apparently trying to dismantle the Criminal Code and the entire judicial system in order to save their own leaders from some well deserved prison sentences for corruption.
The most shameless move, which ultimately has triggered the current wave of public indignation was a Government Emergency Ordinance (why the emergency???) adopted rapidly in a special government session in the dark of the night and published shortly after midnight in the Official Journal; it de facto aimed at de-penalizing corruption, bribery, and the abuse of power in all cases where the estimated damage amounts to less than 200.000 Lei (45.000 Euro). For the average Romanian, this is a huge lot of money.
Strange coincidence: PSD leader Liviu Dragnea, who is suspected of having instigated corruption in a case where the damage was estimated at 100.000 Lei, is currently facing a corruption trial in which he risks a prison sentence, and the charge brought against him is exactly “abuse of power”!
Practically, PSD, the former communist party (and now a well-respected member of the European Parliament’s S&D Group!) , is a corruption octopus rather than a political group.
PSD has won elections last December, not because they are popular, but because of the fact that most citizens didn’t show up to vote – they didn’t see enough difference between PSD and the liberals, and there is no conservative alternative. By consequence, participation in the elections fell to a mere 39%.
Now, just one month after forming the government, PSD managed to provoke the biggest street protests since 1989. Hundreds of thousands of citizens took to the streets, many of them with their children and even with small babies. There are protests even in the smallest towns, where there has never been anything like that in recorded history.
The Justice Minister, Florin Iordache, has stepped down under the pressure of the protest, and the decree has been withdrawn. But protesters fear that it wight be re-introduced as a legislative bill in Parliament, where the shameless ex-Communists control a majority, and hence adopted as a law. They therefore continue protesting.
And Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s hyper-active “rule-of-law”-watchdog, remains complete silent. Is it because he is from the same party family as the PSD?