A Romanian Constitutional Court decision that may bring insult and libel back in the Criminal Code is closely watched in Brussels where a spokesperson for Internal Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini said “the freedom of expression remains a fundamental right, granted by the European legislation”.

According to spokesperson Friso Roscam Abbing, “Romania is an integral part of the family of 27 EU member states. They not only form an economic community, but also a single market for values, as reflected in the EU Chart of Human Rights. In this documents you will find a clear mention to freedom of the press and the freedom of speech. This freedom is not absolute.

It may be limited, but only in legal ways” that comply with the EU conventions in this regard.

His statement comes as the Constitutional Court in Bucharest decided recently that the removal of insult and libel from the Criminal Code last year was not constitutional. A large number of Romanian NGOs protested the move and warned they would fight a possible return of libel and insult in the Code.