How the government countered Brussels’ harshest criticism and political sanctions since joining the EU. The main avenues of misinformation
Dancila’s government, Dragnea, Tariceanu, the PSD and Antena 3, quite the last remaining combatants in the anti-EU trenches, began circulating, on Tuesday, a series of blatant lies and misinformation aimed at countering the most severe criticisms and political sanctions coming from Brussels since Romania’s integration in the EU in back in 2007. What are therefore the main talking-points against the European Parliament’s resolution on the democratic missteps and the CVM report on the regresses in the judiciary, both representing an absolute condemnation of the government in Bucharest?
The misinformation: The vote in the European Parliament (EP) is a vote against Romania, and the Romanian MEPs who voted for the resolution are traitors. Antena 3 has put together a shame list, a dishonor roll of sorts.
The facts: The vote in the EP was not a vote against Romania, but a political sanction against the Government and the Parliament for a series of anti-democratic and anti-justice actions.
The misinformation: It was a political vote, a backroom-deal amongst politicians, therefore of little real consequence
The facts: The resolution was voted overwhelmingly by the European Socialists group, of which the PSD is a member, and by a part of European ALDE members, Tariceanu’s political family. Only the Romanian and Hungarian MEP’s from the Socialists group voted against the resolution, other than that there were 135 votes for the resolution from the group.
The misinformation: It was the hand of Soros again. Antena 3 played the same old tune of conspiracy theory. They once again portrayed Monica Macovei as someone who plays on her fingers the entire European Parliament, and they struggled to prove, using Facebook posts taken out of context, that the whole thing was nothing but a well-orchestrated secret plan.
The facts: It was a resolution proposed by the Greens, with all the main points backed by all the major parties in the European Parliament, save for a few small changes to the original text.
The Misinformation: The resolution and the CVM report were drafted by bureaucrats who have no understanding of the realities in Romania, influenced by the „parallel state” and by Romanian politicians.
The facts: Both the EP resolution and the CVM report reflect undeniable facts. The CVM experts, for example, collect information from numerous meetings with government officials, with the Minister of Justice, with representatives of the Supreme Council of Magistracy (CSM), with judges, with prosecutors, with professional associations, with representatives of the civil society, etc.
The Misinformation: Brussels has a beef with Romania, and it treats it with a double standard in the EU. Other European states do not have a CVM, and they are not monitored or sanctioned for similar actions by politicians in relation to the judiciary or the rule of law.
The Facts: Brussels has sanctioned politically other states that have seriously and repeatedly violated the EU values, just like Romania. For example, the European Commission rejected, for the first time, the draft budget of Italy for surpassing the 3% budget deficit threshold, the maximum accepted in the EU. Moreover, just this year the European Parliament voted to launch Article 7 against Hungary, and the European Commission launched the procedure against Poland – which is more than just a symbolic resolution. The two states are under the risk of being stripped of their right to vote in the Council. On the other hand, Romania and Bulgaria have, of their own accord, accepted the CVM at the time of acceptance into the EU, being considered, at the time, countries without a non-functional judicial system. Romania has walked-back the progress it made to the judiciary in the last years while Bulgaria, though not as efficient in the fight against corruption as Romania, has shown the political will to maintain the pace of the reforms. It seems to be the main reason why Bulgaria has been promised a timeframe for the lifting of the CVM by the end of 2019, while Romania has not.
The Conclusion. November 13, 2018, will remain as one of the most embarrassing days for Romania in Brussels. The two events, the adoption of the resolution and the publication of the CVM report, represent an unprecedented political sanction. Romania’s ability to exercise the presidency of the Union, come January 1, 2019, was also put into question, as the country was accused of not upholding basic European principles: the independence of the judiciary, the rule of law and democratic values, also drawing criticism for the violent reprisal of the peaceful protests, the attacks on NGOs and on the press.
The government’s response, voiced by the Prime Minister, was an even more virulent, more sovereignist, and more isolationist anti-EU speech.
Traducerea: Ovidiu Harfas
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