The European Parliament just adopted a resolution strongly criticising the Romanian government of Social Democrats and Liberals, which will take over the presidency of the Council at the beginning of 2019. With a broad majority of pro-European parties, Parliament criticises the weakening of the independence of courts and anti-corruption institutions. It also recently became known that journalists who evaluate leaked documents on alleged corruption linked to Liviu Dragnea (chairman of the ruling Social Democrats) are being threatened. The Romanian government’s data protection authority is pressuring journalists with a daily fine of €644 after the passing of a 10 days deadline to force them to publish their sources. In doing so, the government invokes the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However, the GDPR contains an exception for journalists.
MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:
“The rule of law and freedom of the press are massively threatened in Romania. We will not stand idly by and watch the dangerous decline of European fundamental values in Romania. The Romanian government is abusing European data protection law to put investigative journalists under pressure. The threat to journalists shows that the government appears to have something to hide. The European Commission must strongly condemn the Romanian Government’s attack on the freedom of the press. As Spitzenkandidat of the European Social Democrats, Frans Timmermans should put pressure on his party colleagues in Romania. The European Social Democrats must not duck away when Europe’s fundamental values are attacked from within their own ranks.”
The draft resolution is available here:
Solidarity statement of the network of investigative journalists, to which also the killed journalists Daphne Galizia and Jan Kuciak belonged: