By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest
The Romanian President, Traian Basescu, warned Romania yesterday of the risks in staying blocked in a grey zone between Europe and Asia and called on the citizens to show more intolerance towards corruption so that the country moves forward from the current deadlock, which irresponsible politicians’ behavior brought the country into.
In a public debate hosted by his sponsored People’s Movement Foundation (PMP), Basescu made a diagnosis of the current situation in Romania, mainly pointing out political drawbacks. He underlined, for instance, “the Parliament institution doesn’t function as an institution at European standards” since the lawmakers reject court decisions.
This can only be fixed by the citizens because “the lack of exigency is seen in how tolerant the Romanian electorate was when it sent people under criminal investigation in the Parliament”. “We have a problem inside the Romanian society which is extremely tolerant towards corruption” Basescu pointed out.
He also warned “Romania has taken steps backwards since the summer of 201” when the current ruling collation led by PM Victor Ponta tried to oust Basescu by curbing constitutional powers which drew the ire of the West. Romania was set to start gradually joining Schengen that year, but the events in the summer reversed that decision. “Unfortunately, the events in the summer of 2012, the ones in December 2013 (lawmakers’ attempt to amend the Penal Code to shield themselves from corruption charges), attacks on institutions, justice, prosecutors of the current ruling coalition have disqualified us to the loss of Romanians citizens, in terms of credibility and economy” Basescu further said.
He again called on citizens to have a firer stance towards politicians. “I think we have the obligation to send a strong signal to the population to increase exigency towards politicians’ behavior when it comes to state institutions, the rule of law, human and minorities’ rights” he added.
Romania has to firmly stay rooted on its path towards the West and the European integration process. “Otherwise, and I say it with full responsibility, there is a risk we are stuck in a grey zone where we are neither Europeans nor non-European and this will incur us great damage” Basescu warned.
“Not everybody and not all our neighbors, closer or not, wish Romania is successful in the EU. This enormously depends on the population’s reaction” he pointed out. “There is no peace, no calm around us. And Romania’s contamination is easy when political criteria are not observed, when state institutions are weakened, when justice is denigrated. These are risks we generate through the internal attitude of a large number of politicians” Basescu concluded.
The Romanian President has put all his political support in the People’s Movement Foundation which he promotes as an alternative to the current rightist parties. PMP is yet to nominate a candidate for the presidential elections in November. Basescu’s former party, the democrat-liberal party (PDL), is counting on Catalin Predoiu, former minister of Justice, in the race for the first job in the country. Many analysts though call on a single candidate of the rightist parties so that the votes are not divided among several contenders.