Rapporteur alarmed by the emergency decree decriminalising certain forms of corruption in Romania

“I am seriously alarmed by the Romanian government’s emergency decree, passed on Tuesday night and given immediate effect, which will decriminalise many, even serious cases of corruption and abuse of public office,” said Bernd Fabritius (Germany, EPP/CD), PACE rapporteur on ‘strengthening the rule of law in south-east European countries through targeted reform of the legal system’.

“This act breaches fundamental principles of the rule of law and seriously undermines Romania’s fight against corruption, in particular the work of its National Anti-corruption Directorate. By in effect legalising many forms of corruption, it exposes even the highest government offices to abuse and seems aimed at protecting senior members of the ruling party from prosecution.”

“This is a serious setback not only for Romania and its citizens, but for all Council of Europe member states. Romania is abandoning the substantial progress it has made in recent years in combating corruption and maintaining the rule of law. The European Union, which has closely followed this progress through its Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, should promptly re-assess Romania’s fulfillment of its obligations as an EU member state and then take all necessary measures”.

“At the same time, it is heartening to see the courage and determination of the hundreds of thousands of Romanians who have taken to the streets to oppose this decree and whose commitment I support. I strongly condemn the targeted use of violence to disrupt their peaceful protests, and call on the government to respect and protect its citizens’ right to demonstrate.”