Romania’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the state of emergency that regulates the state of alert is constitutional “to the extent that it does not restrict rights and freedoms”. The Constitutional Court (CCR) ruled today that the GEO 21/2004 emergency decree which regulates the state of emergency is constitutional insofar as it does not restrict civil rights and freedoms”, according to CCR sources. According to the same sources, the decision was interpretive. The appeal against the decree no. GEO 21/2004 was submitted to the Constitutional Court by the Ombudsman.
The Legislative Committee of the House of Representatives proceeded to significant new changes today, Wednesday, compared to those made yesterday by the Senate in the bill for the declaration of a state of alarm. If “at least half the country is to declare a state of alarm, then parliamentary approval is needed. In the form approved by the Senate, the approval of the state of alarm by Parliament was necessary only if this measure was to be adopted nationwide. Lawmakers have also introduced an amendment to the law that violates constitutional provisions. Therefore, the bill approved by the Legal Committee clarifies that the regulatory act begins to be valid on the date of its publication in the Official Gazette. However, the Constitution stipulates that any law shall enter into force at least 3 days after its publication in the Official Gazette. The legislators reinstated in the bill Chapter 3 of the plan submitted by the Government, which was repealed yesterday by the Senate, and which is amended by decree no. GEO 21/2004 – the current regulatory act that regulates the state of alarm. Finally, the deputies decided that the fines for violating the prohibitions imposed by the authorities during the state of alarm will not exceed 2,500 lei, according to g4media
On Tuesday, with 111 votes in favor, 8 against and 15 abstentions, the Senate approved the bill on the state of alarm, the areas of applicability, the measures and procedures and the responsible public authorities”.
The head of the Prime Minister’s Office Ionel Dancă criticized the Social Democratic Party’s (PSD) amendments to the government’s bill on the state of alarm. He said on Wednesday that the Social Democrats’ approval of the bill in its modified form represented “a serious act”, bringing the government’s efforts against COVID-19 to a “political, legal and abstract” level. He called on the PSD to reconsider the amendments it tabled during a debate in the House of Representatives, which is the legislative institution bestowed with decision-making powers.
Alfred Simonis, a spokesman for the PSD, responded by saying the government’s rage against the Social Democrats was “ridiculous”. He claimed that the Liberal senators had voted in favor of the PSD amendments and that the bill had also been amended by the National Liberal Party (PNL), USR and UDMR senators.
PSD senator and interim president of the Senate Robert Cazanciuc also accused the government of failing to prepare in advance the act regulating the state of alarm, while he confirmed that the proposed bill was a “constitutional paradox” and a “bad copy of the decree on the state of emergency”. Cazanciuc accused the government of “continuing what it did during the state of emergency”, that is, “concluding public contracts without transparency or appointing party members to positions without any training needed”. He added that the Senate Judiciary Committee was concerned that the state of alarm was no longer being used to promote abuse. In addition, according to the interim President of the Senate, restrictions should not be imposed in the same way throughout the territory.
According to the bill approved and amended yesterday by the Senate, the state of alarm will be declared by the government for 30 days and can be extended by a maximum of 30 days, based on a government decision and a proposal of the Minister of Interior.
According to the Adevarul newspaper, there are no standards for maintaining restrictions related to the coronavirus epidemic between the end of the state of emergency on 15 May and the entry into force of the law on the state of alarm. From 15 to 17 May, no restrictions will be imposed by the authorities. Indeed, according to parliamentary procedures, if the law on the state of alarm is passed on Wednesday, it will not be issued until Friday. In addition, the Constitution stipulates that any law shall be put in force within three days of its publication in the Official Gazette of Romania, that is, on Monday 18 May, at the latest in this case.
According to experts in the field, in order for the restrictions that have been introduced to be maintained during the three days of the legislative gap, the President has the opportunity to extend the state of emergency for a few days.
President Klaus Iohannis recalled the key changes to be implemented after 15 May in a press statement following a meeting with the officials in charge of responding to the coronavirus pandemic. From 15 May, the use a protective mask that covers the mouth and nose in all indoor public spaces will become mandatory, for example in shops or public transport.
The President stressed it would be necessary that a 1.5-meter physical distance be kept at all times. The President announced that the companies would be resuming business. Shops with an outside entrance that leads directly to the street will be able to accommodate the public. In addition, the head of state advised local authorities to reopen the parks on 15 May. However, Mr. Klaus Iohannis warned that traveling should not be abused, urging only those who absolutely had to, to do so. “If you move from one location to another (except in the same metropolitan area), a movement certificate will always be required”, the president said. /ibna