You are here: Home » PTI Stories » International » News
Business Standard

Romania MPs under fire after voting for immunity over graft

AFP  |  Bucharest 

Domestic and international critics poured scorn on Romanian lawmakers today after they unexpectedly voted to exempt MPs and the president from corruption charges while in office.

The executive European Commission, which keeps a close watch on the EU member's drive to rein in corruption, warned that the snap amendments were "obviously something that will be taken up" in its report on the rule of law in Romania next month.

"We have highlighted in previous reports that high public officials... Should be covered by corruption and conflict of interest rules", Commission spokesman Mark Gray told journalists.

"A very important principle for us is that all citizens are equal before the law," he added.

The United States said the proposed changes to Romania's criminal code were a step in the wrong direction.

"This move by the parliament is a step away from transparency and rule-of-law and is a discouraging sign for investors, which will negatively affect Romania's economy", the US embassy in Bucharest said in a statement.

Romania's lower-house Chamber of Deputies, where a centre-left coalition holds a two-third majority, adopted the amendments yesterday after a secret meeting by the justice committee.

The national anti-graft prosecutor and the magistrates council were not consulted and criticised the changes.

According to the prosecutor, 28 lawmakers are currently on trial on corruption charges or serving jail sentences.

President Traian Basescu, a sharp critic of the centre-left coalition, has vowed to send the bill changing the penal code back to parliament.

"Ten years of efforts to uproot corruption have been blown away," he said.

"If implemented, these changes will mean that pending investigations... Against lawmakers will be frozen", Dana Pascut, a spokeswoman for the National Union of Judges (UNJR), told AFP.

"Those who are sentenced for graft will be freed because they will benefit from the new law," she added.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Thu, December 12 2013. 01:15 IST