Stop the anti-democratic drift of the Romanian government
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To the leadership of the Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament:
On the 31st of January 2017, at around 10:00PM, the Romanian Government, made up of members of your Romanian affiliate, PSD, decriminalized official misconduct through an emergency ordinance. The ordinance was passed in secret, at night, while thousands of demonstrators were gathering in central Bucharest in freezing weather to protest against it.
Here is a report on the events from Reuters:
Romania’s top judicial watchdog announced a court challenge on Wednesday to a government decree decriminalizing some graft offences in what critics say is the biggest retreat on reforms since the country joined the European Union a decade ago. The decree, unveiled by the Social Democrat-led government of Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu after it took power earlier this month, has drawn sharp criticism and triggered the biggest street protests since the fall of communism in Romania in 1989. More than 10,000 people took to the cold streets outside government headquarters in the capital, Bucharest, late on Tuesday after the government pushed through the move in a hastily-assembled cabinet session. Protesters gathered again on Wednesday, shouting "Rats!" Numbers were expected to grow in the evening.
If enforced, the decree would, among other things, decriminalize abuse-of-power offences in which the sums involved were less than 200,000 lei ($48,000).
That would put an end to an ongoing trial of Social Democrat party leader Liviu Dragnea, accused of using his political influence to secure state salaries for two people working at his party headquarters between 2006 and 2013. Dozens of lawmakers and mayors across all parties stand to benefit from the decree.
At the time of writing, there are over 100.000 people protesting in front of the Government’s building in Bucharest and tens of thousands more across the country. We demand that you take a firm position against this breach of basic ethics by your Romanian affiliate and denounce their actions for what they are: hostile to citizens, indifferent to public opinion and corruptly self-serving. We need your support in stopping this and we need our European allies to stand by the citizens of Romania in this time of profound democratic crisis.
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