#FactOfTheDay: Anti-corruption protest in Bucharest: the biggest since the fall of communism in 1989
Protests continue in Romania. Last Wednesday hundreds of thousands people took to the streets of the capital in Romania to protest against a decree adopted by the government which decriminalises some forms of corruption.
On late Tuesday Romanian government adopted an emergency ordinance which risks to undermine what have been achieved during these past 10 years since Romania became EU member, in the fight against corruption. According the Romanian PM, Sorin Grindeanu, far from stoping the country’s strategy against corruption, the ordinance is a measure to tackle the overcrowding in prisons.
Mass protests in the streets of Bucharest, against anti-corruption law, followed the government’s decision. Protesters show themselves willing to continue demanding back their country’s democracy until the government abrogates the law. On the other side, the government remains stick on its decision. Although several protests have taken place in Romania in the past two weeks, the one of Wednesday it thought to be the largest ever since the fall of communism in 1989.
“Thieves”, “You won’t escape”, “In a democracy, thieves stay in prison” – protesters shouted at politicians in the streets of government’s headquarter. Many of them demanding the resignation of the government, others just asking them to do their job and abrogate the decree which makes Romania step back in its effort to fight corruption.
On 18 January the Ministry of Justice published two emergency ordinance drafts which have been very criticised not only within Romanian national borders. The first known as the emergency pardoning decree would grant pardoning to thousands of criminals and the second including several changes on how some forms of corruption crimes are defined by the Penal Code.
Condemnation comes from both European and International arena over the Bucharest decisions.
In its annual report on the state corruption, the European Commission has criticised the two emergency ordinances that propose pardon by the Romanian government for many criminals including the leader of the governing party.
“Corruption persists and at all levels of public administration” states European Commission and Romania had a history of “regular attempts to modify the laws incriminating corruption, often without consultation of the key state and judicial institutions in this area”.
Further more, in a joint statement, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and First Vice-President Frans Timmermans expressed big concern after the Romanian government issued an emergency decree decriminalising some forms of corruption.
“The fight against corruption needs to be advanced, not undone. We are following the latest developments in Romania with great concern,” the statement reads.
Some European countries such as Germany and France took the same position as the European Commission warning Bucharest that justice reform should continue. Condemnation comes from the other side of the Atlantic as well, with USA and Canada claiming the measure undermines the progress on rule of law and the fight against corruption.
To find out more:
Juncker, Timmermans issue stern warning against Romania’s ‘backtracking’- EurActiv.com
EC will continue to monitor Romania’s justice reform under the CVM until process irreversible-Romania-Insider.com
Romania: Third night of protests against corruption decriminalization
Romania: Fresh protests against corruption decree – BBC News
Protesters in Romania promise to be back everyday- Euronews.com