Members of the European Parliament expressed concern about the political crisis currently developing in Bucharest on Thursday and say it affects the image of the country and Romanian politicians’ capacity to govern.

While Hannes Swoboda, deputy head of the Socialist group in the EP, said the crisis was unacceptable, Baroness Emma Nicholson, EP ex-rapporteur for Romania, believes the scandal has yet to affect the image of the country.

There might be such an effect unless the situation is managed with maximum efficiency, Nicholson told Radio France International, insisting that the open conflict between Romanian President Traian Basescu and PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu must not become a stick for the EP to beat Romania with.

But Hannes Swoboda said he was disappointed with the attitude of Romanian politicians but that there have been such cases in other European countries as well. He recalled that many MEPs opposed Romania’s accession to the EU because of corruption there and warned that the ongoing scandal might seriously affect the image of the country before the EP.

The statements come as President Basescu showed the media on a letter sent to him by PM Tariceanu two years ago, in which he is asked to intervene in a judicial case launched against oil mogul Dinu Patriciu, known for his close relationship with the PM. Tariceanu dismissed that the letter, which is unclearly worded, meant what Basescu understood.

But he continued with similar attacks, accusing the president of supporting a group of oligarchs.

The head of the European Liberals Annemie Neyts, meanwhile, says the note that Liberal PM Tariceanu sent to President Basescu was not an interference with justice procedures, but it might have a side-effect on EP elections due to take place in Romania.

And Timo Summa, head for Romania and Bulgaria within the enlargement department of the European Commission, told the Wall Street Journal that the EC was worried about the situation.