US Ambassador to Bucharest Mark Gitenstein says he is disappointed with how the Romanian Senate changed a law on the National Integrity Agency (ANI), the main body keeping in check the wealth of public officials in Romania. The recent changes stripped ANI of much of its powers to provide transparency and contribute to the fight against corruption.

The Ambassador said in a press statement that the legislation weakens ANI more than the Constitutional Court - which had prompted the changes with a decision on the constitutionality of ANI earlier this year - had required. And he said one of the supporters of the changes, Senator Gyorgy Frunda, failed to convince him that President Basescu was wrong when he called for a re-examination of the law.

Ambassador Gitensein statement:

  • "Fighting corruption is critical to U.S. companies, foreign investors and all of Romania.  The last poll I saw said that only 16% of Romanians thought that the government was doing a good job fighting corruption.  This legislation substantially weakens ANI beyond what was required by the court decision. I thought the President was right about the ANI law.  I was asked by Sen. Frunda to meet with him so that he could convince me that the President was wrong.  He failed to convince me but he convinced a majority of the Senate.  I am disappointed especially since the key procedural vote only failed by one (52-51)."