International reactions on Romanian power struggles and worries about rule of law
According to European sources, the European Commission is interested in analyzing the impact of the measures taken by the Ponta Government and the Romanian Parliament on Justice institutions, following a series of signals of political interference with Justice over the past two weeks. The EC is due to publish a report on the progress made by Romania in the Justice sector, a report which Romania's acceptance in the Schengen area depends on.
The move comes as France joined other European authorities and countries in urging Romania's government to comply with the democratic values and the rule of law, as announced on Friday by the French Foreign Ministry, quoted by AFP. A ministry spokesperson declared in a press conference that all EU member states are naturally compelled to comply with the rule of law and democratic values, but also with the balance of power among state institutions.
Quoting the AFP report, French newspaper L'Express reads that France is concerned about the political situation in Romania, while Le Figaro titles the report: "Paris warns Romania".
In response, Romanian PM said he checked the information and found that the French Foreign Ministry spokesman made a statement which was valid for all European states and was not addressed to him or to the Romanian government specifically.
Meanwhile, the German Embassy to Bucharest said in a press release delivered to HotNews.ro that the Federal Government was closely observing the political evolutions in Romania and that it expected parties and political institutions in Romania to act on democratic principles and in line with the rule of law. The German stand noted specifically "the independence of the Constitutional Court of Romania".
The German Embassy statement comes after a series of German deputies and members of the European Parliament, belonging mainly to the Popular group, adopted harsh positions on the moves by Romania's governing Social Democratic and Liberal (USL) alliance in its attempt to suspend and remove President Basescu from office.
International media also commented on the situation in Romania, notably a contribution of Kim Lane Scheppele of the Princeton University on the Nobel laureate Paul Krugman's NYTimes blog, where the author notes: "A political crisis has gripped Romania as its left-leaning prime minister, Victor Ponta, slashes and burns his way through constitutional institutions in an effort to eliminate his political competition."