Romania defends itself against EU concerns on rule of law

Strasbourg, France: Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancilahas defended her country against EU concerns that reforms to the judiciary and the criminal code may undermine the bloc’s fundamental values.
Wednesday’s debate in the European Parliament, attended by Dancila and European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, comes amid EU proceedings against Poland and Hungary for alleged rule of law breaches.
“We are following the latest developments in Romania with concern,”Timmermans said, referring to reforms in the EU member state that could harm judicial independence, as well as an overhaul of the criminal codes that he said threatened to hamper the fight against crime and corruption.
“These laws are crucial for the capacity of prosecutors to investigate and judges to sentence high-level corruption as well as for the ability of the judicial system to pursue crime effectively,” Timmermans said.
The reforms would lower the retirement ages of judges and prosecutors, among other things. “We have seen substantial progress in the past but things are now moving backwards,” Timmermans concluded, warning that EU would use all the instruments at its disposal to keep Romania in line with EU values. — dpa