By Dean Edgar
The ongoing runaway steamroller that is the PSD’s attempt to change the criminal law shows no sign of being stopped, despite the best endeavours of one person, the de facto opposition, Klaus Iohannis. Mr Dragnea and his gang are trying to make life very difficult for the prosecutors in the criminal courts. The changes include suspects being allowed to be involved in the interviews with the accusers, how will that work in a rape case? Another change involves digital data collected from a search or wire tap that is not related to the offence being investigated, recovered based on a specific search warrant, would no longer be used in other criminal cases without a new, specific search warrant. These would include telephone recordings, which can be heard by the suspects at their request. After the case is closed, such recordings would have to be erased, unless they are subject to a new search warrant issued by another investigation.
Perhaps the most heinous of changes is that any decision made by the courts has to be signed off by all the judges, if they are not then the case will have to go back to court. This can be applied retrospectively and so Liviu Dragnea will be able to get his court case for fraud re-heard, as not all the judges at the time signed the case off. and it is anybody’s guess what the outcome will then be. Klaus Iohannis has referred the law change to the Constitutional court and also the the Venice Commission and hopefully these self serving laws will not be passed. We will see.
It seems that the government doesn’t want to follow EU policy regarding Israel, but instead suck up to Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu. The US has recently announced that its embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, upgrading the existing consulate there to a full embassy. The PSD then announced a memorandum to start the process of moving the Romanian Embassy to Jerusalem as well. There are two issues here, firstly foreign policy is not in the parliament’s mandate, this is solely down to the President’s office and secondly it flies in the face of EU policy as well. This move is incendiary, at best, and will cause friction here, in the EU and of course Israel. To further “cement” the relationship between Romania and Israel, the dynamic duo of Liviu and Viorica flew over to Israel in a private jet at a cost of €25,000. They could quite easily have flown with Tarom or El Al, who both have daily flights to Tel Aviv, but apparently this is not how international statesmen do it.
Finally justice might be served for the many people killed and injured in the revolution of 1989 and “Minerva” (Miners Riot) in 1991. Basically Ion Iliescu, former Prime Minister Petre Roman, and former Deputy Premier Gelu Voican Voiculescu were behind a coup which they created. They had fallen out of favour with Ceausescu and wanted to hold on to power so a coup it might well have been, as opposed to a revolution. In 1991 Iliescu ordered miners from Valea Jiului to come to Bucharest to “restore order” after students came out on to the streets to hold a peaceful protest against the new government headed by Iliescu. So, Klaus Iohannis acting on a request from the General Prosecutor, has instructed the prosecution of the three individuals. Hopefully the 3 will go to prison and be out of politics for good.
In other news:
• CFR the state railway company announced recently that train delays over the year 2017 amounted to nearly 9 years, yes 9 years!! Absolutely incredible, the delays were mainly caused by CFR Infrastuctura, the company that deals with the management of the railway infrastructure.
• If you come from the wrong side of the tracks, namely not in the PSD, you can’t change the law to suit your criminal situation, the alternative is to leave the country and claim political asylum. Elena Udrea ex tourism minister and alleged girlfriend of the former president Traian Băsescu has flown to Costa Rica and claimed asylum to escape prosecution for fraud from when she was the Minister for Tourism. Her close friend Alina Bica, the former head of DIICOT is also seeking asylum in order to escape similar charges.
• Whilst I am certainly no fan of the current Prime Minister, Viorica Dăncilă, I do take issue at cheap shots made at her by the press recently. Whilst discussing the 2020 European Football championship, where Romania will be hosting several games (Bucharest is woefully unprepared for this, by the way) she described the championship as 2020 and not two thousand and twenty. This apparently is a crime punishable by death! Her other mistake was to call to list the grounds that will be used, and named the Rapid ground and the Giulesti ground, these are the same grounds. She is clearly not up to the job but calling out a simple mistake like this is not the way to get her removed.
• The much loved purveyor of kitsch, Gabriela Firea the mayor of Bucharest, has announced that she wants to expand the area of Centrul Veche, the Old Town, by another 50 streets including parts of the Jewish Quarter which is behind the Tram terminal across from the Old Town. I for one welcome this move, but surely the existing area needs cleaning up. Many buildings are falling down, and many are empty, due to excessive rent demands from the owners. The existing Old Town needs proper work, then perhaps it could grow.
Until the next time…
Dean Edgar has been living the expat dream here in Romania for 11 years. He is General Manager of Moorcroft Services, a company dedicated to assisting foreigners to settle in Romania. They can help with visas, permits, company set-ups, car registration, house hunting, insurance, orientation tours and basically anything that a newcomer to Romania might need see www.moorcroft.ro for further details.