How fair are the key messages on the judiciary and on the 10th of August protests transmitted by Viorica Dăncilă and SDP-ALDE in the European Parliament
In the past few days, Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă, the SDP, and ALDE leaders, served and supported by some TV stations, have flooded the public space with false statements and conspiracy theories in order to minimize the significance of the PM’s hearing and subsequent debate in the European Parliament. Under the guise of arguments, the SDP leaders did not refrain from using false information. They have also repeated it on Wednesday, during Prime Minister Dăncilă’s hearing in Strasbourg.
G4Media.ro presents an analysis of the main lines of argument present in the speeches and positions circulated by the representatives of the powers that be in Romania.
SDP-ALDE message: the European Commission and Parliament representatives are misinformed, are not aware of Romanian realities, or do not understand them. This is Dragnea, Tariceanu or Tudorel Toader’s favorite accusation, used every time Brussels criticizes the anti-judiciary actions undertaken by the powers that be in Bucharest.
Analysis: The European Commission is in possession of detailed information coming: from the Commission’s Representation in Bucharest, from the GRECO reports, and the Venice Commission’s opinions (also referred to by Timmermans); most importantly, through expert missions sent every year to Bucharest, the Commission has a clear picture of developments in the judiciary
SDP-ALDE message: The hearings in the European Parliament are the fruit of political struggles between major parliamentary groups, the European People’s Party and the Party of European Socialists.
Analysis: It is totally unclear who is struggling against whom, since the debate was requested by the Green Group, and the First European Commission Vice President, Frans Timmermans, who have criticized the Bucharest government for wanting to slow down the anti-corruption fight, and to promote a referendum against the values defended by the European Left, of which the SDP is a member at the European level
SDP-ALDE message: Romania is attacked by Europeans because it has a left-wing government , and people want to divert attention from Hungary and Poland where there are right-wing governments. This accusation arose especially after Manfred Weber, the leader of the EPP group in the European Parliament, said after meeting with Premier Dăncilă that he urged the Romanian government to stop the attacks against the judiciary. He was accused of hypocrisy and double speak, because he supported Viktor Orban’s campaign
Analysis: It is not excluded that Europeans will exploit this moment politically, and support for Orban is indeed condemnable. On the other hand, the crisis of the rule of law in Romania, as well as the undemocratic excesses in the country, represent a reality that even their political opponents can not challenge. Relevant in this respect is the remark made by MEP Siegfried Mureşan (EPP): „When Viorica Dăncilă concluded her speech in the European Parliament, she was applauded only by teh Romanian SDP representatives. No other European socialist applauded. They were alone. ”
SDP-ALDE message: The allegations against their abuses are launched by MEPs Preda and Macovei, who denigrate their own country. Romania is unjustly attacked and treated as a second-hand country.
Analysis: The first Vice-President of the European Commission, the socialist Frans Timmermans, drew SDP’s leaders attention to the fact that this type of approach shows their lack of arguments: „Every time there is criticism coming from the Commission, those who defend what is happening are hiding behind “the people”. They say we criticize the nation. No, we are criticizing proposals for very specific legislative changes, which we believe would be a step back in the fight for the consolidation of Justice and the judiciary. It is a weakness to do that. It means you have no other arguments. ” In addition, as we have seen above, the debate on Romania was initiated by the Greens of the EP, led by Ska Keller (Germany).
SDP – ALDE message: When referring to alleged abuses by the judiciary, Premier Dăncilă and other SDP leaders use certain figures to impress the audience: over 3,000 files of magistrates investigated by the Anti-corruption Directorate, all the magistrates who were removed from office due to the investigation were subsequently acquitted, 6 million Romanians were under phone surveillance, 98% of the trials for corruption ended in an acquittal
Analysis: In this case half-truths are mixed with lies and flagrant manipulations. There were actually 3,000 files, but they were not all open by the Anti-corruption Directorate. Many have resulted from complaints made by the defendants, which automatically opens a criminal case investigation. Instigating the idea that a hunting of magistrates took place in Romania in order to influence their decisions is simply false, and a gross manipulation of statistics. There were indeed magistrates who were acquitted amongst those who were tried, but by no means all of them. The prosecutor’s office of the Superior Council of the Magistracy has criticized the PM’s statements on the ground that „it is a serious, unrealistic, and unacceptable claim in a country with the rule of law.”
The alleged 6 million phones listened to is another exaggeration, repeated ad-infinitum in the hope of making it sound true. After Claudiu Manda claimed that over 311,000 listening mandates were issued in 12 years, which, in his opinion, represents more than 6 million people listened to, the Secret Services explained in a press release that in fact 28,784 interception orders were requested. The most flagrant example of manipulation is the claim made by SDP MEP Dan Nica, who affirmed that the acquittal rate in the Anti-corruption Directorate files is 98% of the cases. In fact, the average acquittal rate for DNA is about 10% of the cases per year
SDP – ALDE message: The supreme litmus test for abuse is the existence of secret protocols between the Secret Services and the institution in the Judiciary. Moreover, PM Dăncilă said on Wednesday in the European Parliament that the „MCV has missed its mandate” and asked for the names of those who wrote the reports without paying attention to the secret protocols.
Analysis: Nobody understood the argument, which has also perplexed the first Vice-President of the European Commission, as to how these protocols have affected the fight against corruption. They have not been denounced as illegal. Moreover, the Romanian Judges’ Forum pointed out that „the examination of the lawfulness of the administration of evidence is the exclusive competence of the courts in criminal matters” and that „an intervention by the legislature in this field, generated exclusively and undifferentiated only by this context of” secret protocols „would seriously harm the prosecution of many serious crimes”. The leader of the ALDE group in the EP, Guy Verhofstadt, took a step towards the SDP-ALDE preferred subject, but did not explicitly refer to the protocols. „Romanian colleagues have not one problem, but two: generalized corruption and secret services, a real state in the state,” Verhofstadt said.
SDP – ALDE message: In connection with the 10th of August protests, leaders say the gendarmery’s actions were fair and comparable to the interventions performed by law enforcement officials in other European countries, including the use of tear gas. It took force to intervene because the demonstrators wanted to occupy the government building. Prime Minister Dăncilă and other SDP-ALDE MEPs accused European officials of double standards, accusing them of lack of reaction in similar situations.
Analysis: Most of the protests on 10 August have highlighted an evidence: the gendarmery repressed violently peaceful demonstrators who were protesting against corruption and against the intentions of the power to control the judiciary. „Instead of listening to the protesters, you sent the gendarmes to beat them and spray them over with tear gas,” the co-chair of the Greens group of the European Parliament, Ska Keller, told Prime Minister Dăncilă, present in the EP plenary session in Strasbourg.
Traducere: Ruxandra Stoicescu
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