Protests in Romania

There’s a lot of worrying things happening in many EU member states that I’ve been ignoring in hopes that issues would resolve themselves and – after Brexit – I felt a certain reluctance to talk about things that didn’t show the union in a good light.

It’s 2018 and I’m done with that.

I don’t know enough to comment on the situation in Romania myself. Also I’m sick in bed with some cold or something. But I want to stand up and say “This is going on and it’s not right.” and also to applaud the Romanian people for their protests.

On a side note: I don’t think federalising the EU is a good idea. I don’t think it will create a more harmonious or efficient EU. I think what will make the EU more harmonious is if the people unite and stand together when our rights or the principles of justice are being ignored – or worse denied. Regardless of where the abuse of power is happening if we can stand up with each other and denounce it – maybe things could be a lot better. Everywhere.

What’s happening in Romania?

The PSD is the governing party in Romania. Liviu Dragnea is the head of the party but is barred from being Prime Minister because of a conviction for ballot-rigging that led to a two-year suspended prison sentence. He also faces charges of abuse of office and of defrauding the state of €24,000.

February 2017

Over two weeks of huge daily protests are mounted by the Romanian people against proposed legislation that would, among other things, decriminalise bribery when it involves amounts less than €44,000.

euronews – Very brief run through of what led to the protests & comments by protestors themselves

 

euronews – President Klaus Iohannis criticising the government’s attempts to decriminalise bribery and facilitate corruption

 

Al Jazeera English – A more in-depth look at the situation

 

The Guardian – The government withdrew the controversial legislation following the massive protests.

May 2017

The government tried to pass legislation to give pardons to politicians convicted on charges of corruption. The people protested and the legislation was blocked.

MSNBC – Brief run through of the situation, Romania bit finishes at 7:30

Article in the NYT about the proposed measures being dropped.

November 2017 & onwards

The government proposes laws that many see as giving politicians undue power over the judiciary and the anti-corruption agency, DNA.

The government’s opponents claim that under the draft laws now being considered in parliament, the powers of the respected anti-corruption directorate, the DNA, would be reduced, with the justice ministry able to name head prosecutors.

The judicial inspection body that investigates the work of judges would also come under the control of the minister of justice. A new structure staffed by prosecutors is being devised to investigate criminal acts committed by magistrates.

The Guardian

 

Reuters | Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – People take to the streets in protest

 

euronews – Romania’s lower house approves controversial judicial reforms

 

euronews – Romanian judges protest over government-backed legal reforms

 

The legislation proposed in November which many argue is destroying the separation of powers was passed and another bill is now on the table which would lead to the case of abuse of office against Liviu Dragnea being dropped.

The people are once more taking to the streets in these freezing temperatures to protest and there are protests planned for today.

Liviu Dragnea
Liviu Dragnea. What a chancer.

 

*****

Politics aside, I haven’t been to Romania yet and really want to go. It’s supposed to be gorgeous. And here is a video from TheLifeofJord about his experience of living in Bucharest, the capital of Romania.

*****

Jan 20, 2018

Here’s a link to a euronews report on today’s protest. One of the protestors explains that Liviu Dragnea, while certainly part of the problem, isn’t the sole concern, that it’s more a case of a group of people in power who don’t seem to have respect for the rule of law and are doing all they can to undermine it.

As I said above I don’t know enough about the situation to comment myself. But I am going to highlight what’s going on because it’s one way of staying informed myself and I do think, in Europe – and throughout the world really, us ordinary people need to show more solidarity with each other.

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