US Ambassador to Romania Mark Gitenstein has told HotNews.ro that any initiative to renew talks on changing law regulating the National Integrity Agency (ANI) - which focuses on the wealth and interests of Romanian officials would be a very bad idea and would not be well received by the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, by the EU or the US. He urged Romanian authorities to prove caution in this regard. His statements came a day after he said Romania was facing difficult elections that may divide the people and that worried him.
He made the statement on ANI as, according to HotNews.ro sources, parliamentary group leaders in Bucharest met on Tuesday to agree on changing the law for the functioning of the agency as fast as possible, so that its role become more limited. On the other hand, the Justice Ministry initiated the creation of a so-called Codex on conflicts of interests and incompatibilities which, according to governmental sources, provide the pretext to launch a public debate on changing the ANI law.
ANI is a key instrument in keeping in check the wealth and interests of Romanian officials. It became the target of attacks again lately after its finding that a senator belonging to the governing coalition was in a situation of incompatibility was ignored by the Senate. The Senate rejected on Tuesday the possibility that Liberal Senator Mircea Diaconu end his term in office following the ANI rule.
The case drew the attention of the European Commission as well. Its spokesman Mark Grey said on Tuesday that it regretted the Romanian Senate decision not to comply with a High Court verdict in the same case related to the Senator Diaconu's state of incompatibility.
On Tuesday, Ambassador Gitenstein said during a meeting with law students that Romania was facing major challenges as it was getting ready for difficult elections which, in his opinion, may divide the people. The situation, he said, was worrying.