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Commission must not gloss over democratic problems in Romania

Concerns about a democratic roll-back in Romania have been echoed by the Greens, following the recent use of emergency decrees by prime minister Victor Ponta to alter democratic institutions. The group is calling on the European Commission to fully assess the situation and, notably, to take account of the latest developments in a forthcoming assessment on post-accession democratic progress to be presented to the EU's Council of Ministers next week. Commenting on the situation, Greens/EFA co-presidents Dany Cohn-Bendit and Rebecca Harms stated:

"We are alarmed by the general situation in Romania and the recent moves to undermine democratic institutions by Victor Ponta and his government. Romania committed to EU values concerning democracy and the rule of law when it joined the European Union five years ago and this commitment remains just as important now as then.

"The European Commission was tasked with monitoring developments in Romania following its accession and these worrying developments underline the need for the Commission to continue this task. The forthcoming assessment report to the Council by the Commission must not gloss over the democratic problems in Romania that have emerged in recent weeks. It is crucial that this report includes all the latest developments and that the Council responds to any concerns raised.

"The European Parliament, for its part, must follow-up with its own assessment through the relevant committees ahead of a plenary debate on the issue scheduled for September. This implies sending a fact-finding mission to Romania to assess the respect of democratic values and the rule of law.

"It is crucial that threats to democracy in EU member states are treated as priorities for the Union as a whole, and that we do not become bogged town in a tit-for-tat between centre-left and centre-right political families."