US Assistant Secretary Nuland: Romanian Rule of Law Raises Concerns

Victoria Nuland, US Assistant Secretary, has travelled to Romania on a two-day official visit marking Romania’s NATO accession tenth anniversary as well as related bilateral agreements.

Victoria Nuland / Titus Corlatean

Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland and Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean (Lucian Crusoveanu / Public Diplomacy Office)

The United States has a profound interest in the continued development of the rule of law, justice, economic openness, and transparency in Romania. As the Foreign Minister said, we discussed those issues today. We will always be open about the United States’ profound interest in the continued reform and democratic trajectory of Romania, and in the interest we have in seeing rule of law strengthened, because a strong, democratic, prosperous Romania is the best partner for the United States, the best NATO ally, and the best EU member in service to all of the global responsibilities that we share and our strategic partnership.

While the Romanian PM Victor Ponta was a no-show man and nobody seemed to know his whereabouts especially since his spokesperson said he himself could not be bothered to make any statement as he was hitting the Austrian ski slopes, Victoria Nuland managed to meet the Romanian President as well as the Foreign Affairs Minister.

What Nuland’s comments clearly point out is that the main scope of the visit was sparked by recent concerns over the rule of law in Romania and consistent pressures exerted on the judiciary system. The fact that the Romanian judiciary system has become a matter of public joke fuelled by Victor Ponta’s public statements is worrying to Romanians as well. At least it should be.

Victoria Nuland’s statement follows the second jailing of Adrian Nastase, former Romanian PM, and Victor Ponta’s curious allegations that Nastase has a condition similar to Timochenko’s in Ukraine. PM Ponta has made consistent statements contending judicial proceedings related to high-profile corruption cases which must have triggered the visit of the US Assistant Secretary to Romania.

Recent amendments to the Criminal Code favoring legal loopholes and special conditions granted to MPs in Romania were also openly condemned by the EU Commission as well as by the US and UK Ambassador amongst others. Because, FYI Adrian Nastase as well as Dan Voiculescu, thought that being in office was enough defence shielding them from prison. Voiculescu’s circus resignation from office which happened twice in the Romanian Senate is enough proof that to some people office spells favoritism.

Romania must be among the few countries where it pays off to be an MP so as to escape jail time.

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About Cristina Popa

Cristina is a WordPress blogger who regularly writes or shares updates on media, public affairs and various topics of interest. You may follow her on Communication for Development WP blog or Twitter @CristinaPopa0
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