Romanian PM urged by EU to protect democracy
European Union leaders reprimanded Romanian prime minister Victor Ponta yesterday for failing to protect the rule of law and democratic institutions – criticism that threatens to block Bucharest’s full integration into Europe.
Ponta is in Brussels to defend his campaign to oust President Traian Basescu, which has drawn fire from Brussels, Washington and Germany for using measures they say are at odds with constitutional checks and balances. Disapproval in Brussels could endanger a €5 billion IMF aid deal underpinning Romania’s recession-hit economy, and might also prevent Romania from joining Europe’s borderless travel zone.
European Commission president José Manuel Barroso “expressed his serious concerns about recent political events in Romania”, his office said in a statement issued after he met Mr Ponta.
“He underlined that the necessary checks and balances in a democratic system must be guaranteed,” it said. European Council president Herman Van Rompuy told Mr Ponta at a separate meeting to address the EU executive’s concerns. – (Reuters)