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9 ambassadors repeat: Venice Commission’s opinion is needed to amend laws on judiciary

de Mariana Bechir , 11.12.2017

The nine ambassadors who met on Wednesday with Minister Tudorel Toader shared their “concern over the draft laws on the reform of the judiciary discussed in the Parliament” and the importance of requesting “the Venice Commission’s opinion on some basic aspects of the reform of the judiciary“.

Minister Toader discussed Wednesday with nine diplomats – from Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the United States and Sweden – on the MCV, the separation of powers, the changes in the laws on the judiciary and the rule of law.

It is noteworthy: After the meeting, Minister Tudorel Toader declared that there was no reproach from the diplomats about the latest legislative initiatives in the judiciary field.

As a first conclusion, no one questions the freedom of law-making, no one denies the need to amend the laws on the judiciary in accordance with the constitutional exigencies and the European standards, no one denies the necessity of adopting some equitable solutions in the laws on the judiciary,” said Tudorel Toader at the end of the meeting, which took place at the Ministry of Justice.

Asked whether there were reproaches from diplomats at the meeting, Toader replied: “No. I assure you that there was no reproach. It was an absolutely constructive discussion, a clarifying discussion, a discussion that is normal and necessary to take place between institutions.

Following the Minister’s statements, the Embassy of Canada issued the following statement (highlights belong to the editorial staff):

“On December 6, 2017, at the Ministry of Justice, the meeting of Prof PhD Tudorel TOADER, Minister of Justice, and Associate Professor Doctor Marieta SAFTA, Secretary of State, with diplomatic representatives of several EU countries (*), the United States and Canada.

The meeting is part of the ongoing dialogue that the Ministry of Justice and the Justice Minister have with all stakeholders on the reform of the judiciary, both at the national and international level.

Issues related to the recent legislative developments, the state of the implementation of the twelve recommendations mentioned in the recent Report of the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the progress made by Romania under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, the balance and separation of powers in the state, the structuring of the rule of law, as well as the cooperation in the field of justice.

Ambassadors shared their views and concerns about the drafts laws on the reform of the judiciary debated in the Parliament and the firm desire for Romania to continue the process of strengthening the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and the fight against corruption, recognizing the progress made since 2007.

Their Excellencies, Ambassadors of the EU member states have expressed their wish for Romania to create the framework needed to enable the attainment of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism objectives and avoid any decision that could make this objective more difficult to achieve. They also stressed the importance of a broad and open consultation process with all stakeholders, including the request for the Venice Commission’s opinion on some basic aspects of the reform of the judiciary.

The meeting was a good opportunity to strengthen the cooperation relations between the states participating in the meeting.

(*) Belgium, France, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden

We recall that the ambassadors of some Western states, as well as officials of the European Commission, have asked several times the Romanian authorities to amend the laws on the judiciary without requesting the Venice Commission’s opinion on certain issues.

However, Romanian lawmakers said there was not enough time to wait for a response from this institution.

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