The Romanian Parliament today amended the penal code so that criminal proceedings against high-ranking politicians for corruption could soon be broken off. The ruling Social Democrats and Liberals, as well as opposition Christian Democrats, have voted in favour of the changes. One of the changes shortens the limitation period for some crimes. As soon as this comes into force, some important ongoing cases would have to be terminated automatically. Another change decriminalizes negligence in public administration.
Romanian prosecutors had in recent years achieved convictions against high-ranking MPs, ministers and mayors, including the chairman of the Social Democrats, Liviu Dragnea. The investigations had uncovered conflicts of interest, abuse of power, fraud and the award of state contracts in exchange for bribes. Dragnea, who is not allowed to be prime minister because of a conviction and against whom another trial is under way for inciting abuse of office, could also benefit from these changes himself.
Sven Giegold, spokesperson for BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN in the European Parliament, comments:
“The legislative changes passed today in Romania are a frontal attack on the rule of law which the European Social Democrats and Liberals cannot allow to pass. The exclusion of their Romanian member parties is now unavoidable. Suspending membership is not enough. Manfred Weber also finds himself embarrassed by EPP member UDMR who also supported today decriminalising bribes and relaxing the fight against corruption. Weber and the European People’s Party have to draw conclusions from the loud criticism of politics in Romania.”