Senate's Defence Committee cancels hearings concerning August 10 clashes in Bucharest
MEETING – The meeting of the Supreme Defence Council was suspended, and the Government must come up with a new budget adjustment proposal, after the Council members failed to reach an agreement on the current plan, the President of Romania Klaus Iohannis announced on Tuesday. The head of state asked the Cabinet to come up with a plan to eliminate the “unaccountable” cuts in the budgets of national security institutions. The President decided to convene the Supreme Defence Council after the Government formed by the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats criticised him for obstructing the first budget adjustment of this year, one concerning salaries, social assistance expenditure, the funding of activities to fight the African swine fever and Romania’s contribution to the EU budget. Iohannis replied that the Government was free to adjust the public budget at any time, except for the part concerning the national security field. He also said that the Social Democratic Party is building an irresponsible budget, which cannot be implemented in practice.
HEARINGS – At the request of the Social Democratic Party in power, the Defence Committee of the Romanian Senate cancelled Tuesday’s hearings concerning the violent clashes during the August 10th anti-government protest in Bucharest. Originally invited to take part were the Interior Minister Carmen Dan, the coordinator of the riot police intervention, Laurenţiu Cazan, and the Prefect of Bucharest Speranţa Cliseru. Hearings on the same topic were however held at the General Prosecutor’s Office, and they were attended by the Mayor of Bucharest, the Social Democrat Gabriela Firea. She said that investigations would reveal who is to blame for the violence in Victoriei Square, and added that attempts had been made to turn the Bucharest Prefect Speranta Cliseru into a scapegoat. On Saturday during a meeting of the National Executive Committee of the Social Democratic Party, Gabriela Firea requested the resignation of the Interior Minister Carmen Dan, who, Firea said, had blamed the Prefect for the intervention of the gendarmes. So far 770 criminal complaints have been filed, by people injured in that intervention.
VENICE COMMISSION – A Venice Commission delegation will be in Bucharest on September 13th and 14th, to prepare a report on the recent changes of the Criminal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure made by the Parliament of Romania, according to the web site of this Council of Europe institution. The delegation will have talks with President Klaus Iohannis, the Justice Minister Tudorel Toader, and with officials of the High Court of Cassation and Justice, the General Prosecutor’s Office, the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, the Directorate Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) and the Higher Council of Magistracy. The Venice Commission team will also have meetings with MPs, including the members of the special parliamentary committee in charge with modifying the justice laws, with judge and prosecutor associations, as well as with civil society representatives.
ANTI-CORRUPTION – A new proposal for the chief prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate will be announced on Thursday, the Romanian Justice Minister Tudorel Toader says. On Tuesday the last 3 candidates for the office were interviewed by the Justice Minister, while 3 other candidates had their interviews scheduled on Monday. The Minister will select a candidate, who must be accepted by the Higher Council of Magistracy and approved by President Klaus Iohannis. The former chief of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate Laura Codruta Kovesi was dismissed in July, under an order signed by President Iohannis in conformity with a ruling of the Constitutional Court. The dismissal had been requested by the Justice Minister, further to a report that had not been approved by the Higher Council of Magistracy.
SPORTS MINISTER – The Ambassador of Romania to Paris, Luca Niculescu, Tuesday congratulated the Romanian-born former French swimming champion Roxana Mărăcineanu on her appointment as Sports Minister in France. The Romanian Embassy in France also mentions, in a Facebook post, that Roxana Mărăcineanu was one of the 10 Romanians living in France whose merits were recognised in a gala called “100 for the Centenary”, organised by the Embassy in Paris in June 2018. Roxana Mărăcineanu, born in Bucharest in 1975, replaced the former Olympic fencing champion Laura Flessel, who resigned as sports minister in France.
(translated by Ana-Maria Popescu)