Major change in tactics. The emergency decree meant to save Dragnea – announced, owned, and negotiated in Brussels
This time it’s different : the attempts at amending criminal law and saving Liviu Dragnea &co from the long arm of the law are performed in plain sight. They are owned and not undertaken at night, under the cover of darkness, as the case has been so far. After January 2017, and July and December 2018 – when the PSD formalized the decision in its CEX to adopt the emergency decree modifying the Penal Codes – we are facing a fourth « moment of truth ».
Amendments to the Penal and Criminal Procedure Codes will reduce penalties and prescription periods, they will extend the period for the annulment appeal, they will disincriminate certain deeds, and pave the way for re-trying and re-opening cases.
Ever since Friday, when G4Media.ro and other outlets have revealed the future emergency decree’s contents and explained how this would help Liviu Dragnea and other politicians escape trial and conviction, the powers that be, spearheaded by the PSD leader, have been discussing openly about the need to adopt this emergency decree.
Dragnea warned Justice Minister Tudorel Toader that there was further dissatisfaction within the party. This was a way of saying that although the latter had dodged the simple no confidence motion, he might still be sacked at the next cabinet reshuffle in case he did not deliver the long awaited and long since promised law changes.
On Monday the PSD leader explained on Antena 3 that, before adoption, the emergency decree project would be sent to Brussels and that a team including Victor Negrescu – running on the PSD lists for the European Parliament – would explain to European officials what the government wants to do in the area of Justice.
The PSD’s official propaganda trumpet, Antena 3, skirts the matter no more. Quite the opposite : for months it has been touting that changes to the Codes are necessary in order to correct past abuses.
For example, on Tuesday morning, PSD deputy Eugen Nicolicea said in an Adrian Ursu program that he hoped the emergency decree would finally come to pass. The two agreed that the forthcoming decree should contain several changes, and not just in the articles that must be harmonized with Constitutional Court decisions.
This represents a clear change of tactics by which the PSD-ALDE coalition tries to convey to internal and external audiences that it has nothing to hide, and that the envisioned changes are legitimate and necessary for the justice system. They have changed tack from « working under the cover of the night » as thieves do, to « acting in broad daylight ».
Until now, only a few magistrates’ associations have reacted to the publicly presented project, warning that the changes „attack the very structure of the criminal law system” and that „the law – not subjected to public consultation and debate, unrelated to the legislative power and unjustified in its emergency regime – and only benefit a group of people and not the needs of society as a whole „. Romania’s General Prosecutor Augustin Lazar stated that the urgency of the changes is not justified and some of the articles of the decree are likely unconstitutional.
This time we are a few meters before the finish line. The imminence of the changes has not stirred any public emotion. According to information gathered by G4Media.ro, it is very likely that the decree will be adopted at Thursday’s government meeting, despite threats launched by the head of state that he was almost determined to hold a referendum on justice on the same day as the European Parliament elections.
Adopting an emergency decree meant to exonerate many politicians, spearheaded by Dragnea, could provide the perfect pretext for organizing the referendum. PSD and ALDE could pay dearly in electoral capital, but the reality is that Dragnea and Tariceanu’s primary goal is personal salvation, and hence they are little interested in any election losses.
Dragnea’s trial related to the fictitious employments dossier is fast approaching a conclusion, which is why the PSD feels pressed for time and pushes for the adoption of an emergency decree as soon as possible.
Everything depends now on Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă, wheeled by Israeli lobbies for a tour around Washington, where until now she has failed to secure any official meeting. Accommodation at Trump International Hotel does not mean she was received by President Trump.
With Dăncilă in the US, the efficiency of Romania’s relationship with the latter was questioned for the first time by Liviu Dragnea , who stated on Monday night on Antena 3 that the relationship is „passable” and that „the concrete advantages for Romania, from an economic and strategic point of view, are not very notable. ”
As of yet, it remains to be seen if Bucharest’s massive lobbying and blackmail operation will eventually convince Washington to turn a blind eye to the destruction of justice and the judiciary in Romania. It would be a mistake, and the United States will suffer in time from an eventual complicity with a mafia state.
Timmermans’ threat of excluding Social Democrats from the Socialist family has not stirred even the slightest emotion in Bucharest.
Ultimately, we shall see if Brussels will pull all the stops against another foretold disaster in Eastern Europe, or will trigger Article 7 against Romania, as it did in Hungary and Poland, two other countries that have trampled basic democratic values and the rule of law.
If the government activates the nuclear option that will tear criminal law asunder, a referendum will no longer be able to repair the damage. But total mobilization for the EP vote and a symbolic referendum will be able to apply the most drastic possible sanction in a democracy to parties proposing the legalization of corruption and theft as a way of life: the beginning of their fall from power.
Traducerea: Ruxandra Stoicescu
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