Romanian Justice minister Tudor Chiuariu has said that Romania’s efforts to fight corruption are hampered by the European Commission which supports what he calls the fragmented and cumbersome prosecutor’s offices, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
Minister Chiuariu retorted in a press release issued on Tuesday evening that Reuters interpreted his statements in an erroneous and ill-intended manner. And a EC spokesman defended the performance of Romania’s National Anti-corruption Department (DNA), a body that Chiuariu has long been at odds with.
In a series of statements quoted by foreign media including Reuters on Tuesday, Chiuariu attacked the DNA and said that prosecutors’ attributes should be brought under one umbrella, instead of three separate bodies dealing with high-level graft.
Asked whether the attitude of the European Commission is hampering the fight against corruption in Romania, he answered "Yes", adding that he considered a single prosecutors’ office was the best solution but it was impossible to apply because the European Commission recommends not to amend the judicial and institutional framework in Romania.
On Tuesday evening, Chiuariu issued a press release saying that the Reuters report was an erroneous and ill-intended interpretation of his statement, which was taken out of context and belongs to the Reuters corresondend exclusively.
He recalled that he faced an incident with the same correspondent in June this year and despite not having received an answer to a protest he issued to Reuters at the time he would issue a new protest this time around.
Meanwhile, EC spokesman Mark Gray was quoted by Romanian news agency NewsIn on Tuesday as saying that Romanian Justice minister Chiuariu’s opinions were well-known. Gray also said that the DNA has made progress in the fight against corruption in Romania and that the Commission has repeatedly defended the need of stability and continuity in the existing anti-graft structures.
DNA has been repeatedly attacked by Chiuariu over its dealing with graft cases at top level - including Chiuariu himself - since he was named in office this spring.