News review of the day – September 17th

Statement by President Klaus Iohannis after the Supreme Council of National Defence (CSAT) meeting

Romania’s Supreme Council of National Defence (CSAT) reunited today to discuss several matters regarding defence strategies and public safety and possible measures concerning the immigrant crisis in Europe. Following the meeting, President Klaus  Iohannis has made a press statement.

Klaus Iohannis: There have been several subjects on today’s agenda but they mainly focused on four themes.

The first one concerned ways to implement the national defence strategy. We have approved several documents in this regard among which the national defence implementation plan, the Defence White Paper, the public order strategy and other related documents.

The second theme was the Middle East: the complicated developments in the Middle East, in Syria, but also Iran. Several notes on this subjects have been presented in order to properly inform CSAT members.

We have analyzed as well papers regarding Romania’ s presence within NATO, namely those actions that are being initiated in context.

A slightly different subject had to do with Romania’s participation to the UN peacekeeping missions and everybody agreed we have to increase our current contribution to these forces. The subject is to be further discussed.

Finally, of course, the most awaited subject, the migration. We’ve had very good briefing in this matter and we have discussed the way Romania is going to plead at the extraordinary reunion of the Justice and Home Affairs council next week, so that CSAT members be informed and explained Romania’s position. In this case, the minister for home affairs will have a very similar mandate to the one he had at the last meeting of the council, namely that Romania is solidary with the other EU member states but cannot consider compulsory refugee quotas as a solution to the migration issue.

This is the mandate we are going to give for the reunion. However, we wanted to discuss what is going to happen next, since you probably already noticed from the news the European Parliament endorsed a recommendation containing, unfortunately, compulsory quotas. It is likely that the European Union, through a procedure that is going to be applied next week, force us to receive more refugees than we are ready to accommodate. This is a scenario we do not wish and one that is unlikely to help solving the refugee problem, but it is a possible scenario  and we have discussed what could happen in this case. Should it happen, we will clearly have to do something about it. One idea has been circulating…No decision has been made yet, but there was an idea that could lead to a solution, that of using European funds to extend the existing facilities for the refugees or, in extremis, of course, to use European funds to build new refugee centers.

In the end, as one piece of news came out in the media during the CSAT meeting, I want to comment on it only briefly. I am talking about the indictment against the Prime Minister on charges of certain criminal deeds. The way I see this, things are getting more and more problematic for the PM, for the Cabinet and for the Social Democratic party. But we have to admit, Romania’s image is being seriously harmed by this matter. I hope the situation is going to be analyzed with all responsibility and those who can come up with solutions do so. My opinion hasn’t changed, the easiest solution would undoubtedly be the one I proposed in June.

Thank you!

Prime Minister Victor Ponta to face trial for corruption-related charges

Prime Minister Victor Ponta has been indicted today by anti-corruption prosecutors in the so-called „Rovinari-Turceni” file, on charges of forgery, complicity to tax evasion and money-laundering regarding contracts of legal assistance he provided as a lawyer. Senator Dan Şova and two former directors of Turceni and Rovinari energy companies have also been indicted in the same file. Victor Ponta has repeatedly denied the accusations against him and said prosecutors were „manipulating public opinion”.
President Klaus Iohannis, who had called for the PM’s resignation when the case first began in June, said Romania’s image would now suffer the most. The Prime Minster did resign as head of the Social Democrat party during the investigation.
Following the announce, the Liberal Party has asked the governing coalition to publicly state whether they continue to vouch for the PM or not. The Liberals consider, in a press release, that Victor Ponta is the only acting PM in Europe despite his indictment for corruption-realted charges. The Liberal Party added that Victor Ponta sets a harmful example which creates a dangerous precedent for those who want to represent state institutions while facing trials.

Prolific Romanian politician Corneliu Vadim Tudor buried with military honors

Prolific Romanian politician Corneliu Vadim Tudor was buried today with military honors at Ghencea Civil Cemetery in Bucharest after the funeral cortege comprising politicians, artists and hundreds of supporters made stops in front of Romania’s Palace of Parliament and his residence. Former nationalist party leader, journalist, writer, senator and eurodeputy died in hospital on Monday following a cardiac arrest at the age of 65.

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