Romania in the Covid Era: Between Corona Crisis and Constitutional Crisis

In Romania, the sanitary crisis caused by the SARS-COV-2 pandemic started during an existing political crisis and overlapped, at a few crucial moments, with a constitutional crisis. The fact that 2020 is an electoral year had an important impact on the crisis management: on the one hand, the political conflicts increased, but, on the other hand, the fact that the power did not belong to the same political majority hindered potential abuses of one of the actors, especially of the President.

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COVID-19 and Disposable Migrant Workers

Picture this: The world is battling a pandemic, with many countries in lockdown and borders closed. You arrive at a regional airport in northern Romania and wait for hours in the parking lot to board a charter flight. You might end up in Baden-Baden, Berlin or Düsseldorf—it’s hard to know, since no one is telling you what the final destination is. Physical distancing seems not to apply. You are jammed together with 2000 other people waiting to be placed as seasonal workers in the fields of Germany. Asparagus needs to be picked and the new crop need to be planted so the Germans can enjoy uninterrupted production of the spring vegetable through 2020 and 2021.

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How to Address Rule of Law Backsliding in Romania

In this post, we will first summarise the situation in Romania before examining Frans Timmermans’ reaction to the latest evidence of rule of law backsliding there. This post concludes with a possible solution considering the diagnosis offered below: an infringement action based on Article 325 TFEU.

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Romania – Another Brick in the Wall Fencing the Fight against Corruption

On 4 March 2019, the Romanian Constitutional Court published its decision on two protocols of cooperation between the Romanian Intelligence Service and the National Prosecutor’s Office. This much-awaited decision is the latest but not the final step in a saga which started more than 15 years ago.

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New Challenges against the Judiciary in Romania

After a year 2018 dominated by conflicts between the President and the Government and marked by the adoption and entry into force of major changes of the judiciary legislation, the first part of 2019 brought new challenges to the rule of law in Romania, especially as regards the judiciary. All these changes aim at increasing the power of the executive over the prosecutorial part of the judiciary and at removing virtually all checks-and-balances in decision-making on the top prosecutorial offices.

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Lithuania and Romania Complicit for Hosting CIA “Black Sites”

On 31 May 2018, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) confirmed in two simultaneously published judgments, Abu Zubaydah v. Lithuania and Al Nashiri v. Romania, that Lithuania and Romania were involved in the running of secret detention facilities of the CIA, so-called “black sites”, on their territories as well as their “complicity” in the execution of CIA’s secret extraordinary rendition programme for suspected terrorists.

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The Taming of the Court – When Politics Overcome Law in the Romanian Constitutional Court

The Romanian Constitutional Court has backstabbed the Romanian President in his efforts to protect the independence of the chief anti-corruption prosecutor. On 30 May 2018, the Constitutional Court ordered the President to dismiss the chief anti-corruption prosecutor via presidential decree. Before, the President had refused the proposed dismissal by the Minister of Justice based on an Advisory Opinion of the Superior Council of Magistracy that stated that the reasons brought forward against the chief prosecutor were not substantiated enough to justify a dismissal.

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Failing to Struggle or Struggling to Fail? On the New Judiciary Legislation Changes in Romania

Like never before in the last 28 years in Romania, huge protests have started against the ‘assault against the judicial independence’. Awareness has been raised as regards the importance of a truly independent judiciary and the disastrous effects of political corruption on the very existence of a liberal democracy.

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Living Democracy in Romania: From Protest to Referendum ?

What happened in Romania in the aftermath of the so called “Second Black Tuesday”? People were demonstrating on the street, Romanian authorities spoke up, the Constitutional Court came to rule twice, ultimately a popular referendum on anti-corruption measures is being discussed. Could this be a strong sign for the rule of law against the backdrop of corruption?

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