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Romanian anti-graft body DNA blasts governing coalition proposals to change criminal procedure code / DNA head Kovesi: If applied, the changes would close down anti-corruption directorate Romania's National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) reacted on Thursday to proposals submitted by the governing PSD-ALDE coalition to change the criminal procedure code. The planned changes "would have a devastating effect on criminal inquiries as they eliminate indispensablelegal means by which investigating bodies can pursue criminal inquiries", a DNA press release says. It says a EU directive  aimed at strengthening the rules on presumption of innocence, which is used as an argument to introduce the changes, is "just a pretense to eliminate the ability of criminal inquiry bodies to uncover and prove crimes and the purpose of the changes has nothing to do with the presumption of innocence".DNA head Laura Codruta Kovesi warned in a statement for Digi 24 channel on Thursday that if applied, the planned changes would leade to the closure of the DNA. "They wouldn't allow us to investigate corruption", she said.
Romanian parliamentary parties about to deal destructive blow to justice with amendments imposing censorship, witness intimidation and others A special commission of the Romanian Parliament on Thursday is expected to discuss a series of amendments to the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, which if adopted will deliver a massive blow to Romanian justice. They argue changes to the codes are needed because of a EU directive. But the amendments appear to be conceived specifically to save whole categories of culprits, while others impose heavy limits to inquiries or are aimed at intimidating investigators.UPDATE The head of the special commission said on Thursday morning that the talks on the amendments to the criminal codes would take place on Monday
OPINION ​Why is the governing PSD in such a rush to destroy Romanian justice? That’s how it started in Hungary eight years ago. It's true, Victor Orban's Fidesz won a majority of two-thirds in Parliament in 2010. With this support he slaughtered not only the laws and institutions but also the Constitution. It would be the only specific difference to what happens in Romania these days. Still, we find a striking resemblance to the actions of Romania's PSD-ALDE-UDMR coalition in recent days. Like Orban, PSD leader Liviu Dragnea has not lost time in parliamentary debates and has changed key laws without consultation, transparency and other minimum conditions of dialogue in a rule of law.
​Romania governing coalition MPs force new rule preventing debate of opposition-submitted amendments MPs of Romania's governing coalition voted on a new parliamentary rule on Wednesday morning, which leaves the opposition without the possibility to argue in support of its amendments. The move, which prompted criticism that it establishes a dictatorship of parliamentary majority, comes as the coalition forces a fast forward vote on a series of changes to the laws of the judiciary, seen as an attempt to subdue it politically.
The state of ongoing changes to Romanian Justice laws that the governing PSD-led coalition wants to adopt by Christmas The three drafts for amending the Romanian laws of justice are at different stages in the parliamentary circuit at the moment, with only one adopted by the plenum of the House of Deputies, the first notified room. The Senate is the deciding chamber on all three bills aimed at changes the rules of the Judiciary, in defiance with massive criticism that they are an attempt to subdue it politically.
Controversial Romanian company Tel Drum and two of its representatives prosecuted for fraud with European funds Romanian company Tel Drum and two of its representatives, Petre Pitis and Mircea Visan, are being prosecuted by DNA, the anti-graft body, for fraud with European funds leading to a prejudice of over Eur 1 million. Tel Drum, a bearer shares company, has been linked by the media to House speaker, governing Social Democratic Party (PSD) leader Liviu Dragnea, an association he denies.
Changes to ​​Justice laws catch speed in Romanian Parliament The PSD-ALDE draft law amending Law 303/2004 on the Statute for Judges and Prosecutors, the amendments to which were voted by the House of Deputies on Wednesday, was adopted by the plenum of the House on Monday afternoon a solemn session in the memory of late King Michael. The bill is one of the key changes pushed by the governing coalition to Romanian laws on the Judiciary, which have sparked huge criticism as an attempt to subdue it politically.
​ANALYSIS Why the proposed changes to the Romanian laws on judiciary are dangerous The governing coalition in Romania, which holds a majority in the Parliament, has been pushing for massive changes to three key pieces of legislation regarding the functioning of the Judiciary. The attempts to change the current legislation have been fiercely criticised as attempts to subdue the judiciary politically. They should be taken into consideration as a whole, not in separation. See the proposed changes below, step by step, then connect the dots to see the big picture.
Romanian Government approved draft budget for 2018 The government approved on Wednesday the draft budget for 2018, which is based on 5.5% economic growth, annual average inflation of 3.1%, an average exchange rate of 4.55 lei / euro and net average earning monthly of 2,614 lei. The budget deficit in cash is estimated at 2.97% of GDP, while the ESA deficit is 2.96% of GDP, with a budget deficit target below 3% of GDP.
OPINION Romania's King has died and with him the idea of monarchy is fading Romania's King Michael I, who ruled Romania before communists took over in mid-20th century, has died, taking with him the answers to some of the questions we all ask ourselves: what would have happened if he had refused to abdicate in 1947 and would he have faced the communists?? Why did he remove his nephew, former prince Nicholas, from the succession order? The passing of the last king of Romania, a heavily tried monarch, basically cancels out the possibility of restoring the monarchy and leaves behind a Royal House that seems unworthy of his memory.
Romanian Parliament votes late into the night over controversial changes to laws of the Judiciary despite opposition protests, street demonstrations and intl pressure Romanian governing coalition deputies voted on a series of changes to the laws of the judiciary late into the night on Wednesday, despite opposition protests in the House of Deputies, street demonstrations outside of the Parliament HQ and earlier talks on the issue held by key Ambassadors to Romania. The political situation escalated throughout the day, despite a mourning period announced following the death of King Michael, a former, respected ruler of Romania, which was announced a day before.
Romania's King Michael dies age 96 King Michael of Romania, 96, has died at his residence in Switzerland, the national television has announced, quoting a Royal House press release. King Michael was the living monarch who had survived the second world war.
OPINION US warns, Romania's governing PSD accelerates The US has sent three signals for the past two days to Romania's PSD-ALDE governing coalition, warning it cannot rule against its own people. Their answer? Their  foot pressed on the throttle to the bottom for the rapid passage of the laws of Justice, plus misinformation and an attempt to stop the protests.
​Romania's governing coalition leaders react harshly to US Department of State stand on planned changes to Justice laws The leaders of Romania's governing PSD-ALDE coalition reacted harshly on Tuesday to a US Department of State statement issued on Monday evening, which blasted planned changes to the laws regulating the Romanian justice system and which have been criticized as undermining the independence of Justice. The leaders of the coalition said they were "unpleasantly surprised" by the statement and rejected "any pressure" on the Parliament.
Tens of thousands of Romanians protest against governing coalition and its plans to change the rules of Justice Some 25,000 people have been protesting in Bucharest and tens of thousands others in cities across Romania on Sunday evening against the Social Democratic Party (PSD) -led governing coalition and its plans to change the laws of Justice, which would subdue the judiciary politically. Some 25,000 people attended the protest in Bucharest, which started before the Government HQ, continued with a march and a protest before the Parliament palace. They called for the resignation of top PSD leaders including PSD party president and House of Deputies speaker Liviu Dragnea.
Anti-graft prosecutors place whole wealth of governing party leader Liviu Dragnea under precautionary attachment in major graft case Prosecutors at Romania's National Anti-Corruption Department (DNA) have placed a precautionary attachment on all assets owned by Liviu Dragnea, House speaker and the leader of the governing Social Democratic Party (PSD), in a major corruption case. The DNA eyes to recover a prejudice of RON 127,5 million (EUR27,4 million) in the Tel Drum case.
 Romania's governing coalition puts controversial changes to Justice laws on fast forward. How and when Parliament may pass them Romania's governing coalition led by the Social Democratic Party (PSD) is hurrying up with its plans to change key laws for the functioning of the justice system, despite outcry from the civil society, associations of magistrates and international organisations, who see the move as an attempt to subdue the judiciary politically. The bills may pass a special commission in the Parliament this week and be voted by the joint chambers of the Parliament within ten days, political sources have told HotNews.ro.
European Commission report on Romanian justice: EU monitoring to continue in 2018, proposed changes to national law would harm independence of judiciary / Romanian officials react The European Commission published on Wednesday its latest report on the situation of the Romanian justice system, the so-called Cooperation and Verification Mechanism report. It announced the EU monitoring of Romanian justice would continue in 2018, despite current government's hopes that it would end early next year. And it slams a series of recent proposals to change laws in a manner that would affect the independence of justice. The Romanian government received the report on the positive note, while most other top officials underlined its criticism of government attempts to undermine progress in the reform of the judiciary.
Details of the espionage attempt defeated by the Romanian intel: How Serbian who fought for pro-Russians in eastern Ukraine tried to find out secrets about Romania's military bases and radar from the Black Sea Sarbian Bratislav Zivkovic, leader of the paramilitary group of the Cetnic, who fought in the conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo and also along the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, tried several times in 2017 to find information and secrets about the military bases and the critical infrastructure of Romania in the Dobrogea area. The Serbian was monitored by the SRI and was declared undesirable by court. Zivkovici left Romania on Monday, shortly after filming documents he thought were secret, but actually were placed by the SRI.
​European Commission: Romania has accepted the corrections demanded to the EU projects involved in Tel Drum case The European Commission has asked the Romanian authorities to apply financial corrections for the European funds which are being investigated by the European Anti-Fraud Office OLAF in the case of Tel Drum, and Romania has accepted these corrections, a spokesman for the EU executive has told HotNews.ro.

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