Romania court says penal code changes unconstitutional
BUCHAREST: A number of changes to Romania’s penal code recently pushed through by the ruling Social Democratic Party are unconstitutional, the country’s highest court ruled on Friday in a severe blow to the government.
The constitutional court’s nine judges unanimously rejected about 60 amendments to the penal code that have already come under fire from the European Commission in Brussels and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.
Critics argue that some of the changes will allow Social Democratic Party leader, Liviu Dragnea, to ask for a “review” of a two-year jail sentence he received in 2016 for electoral fraud.
And they suggest that the amendments will help Dragnea escape prosecution in two other cases.
The EU Commission’s Vicepresident, Frans Timmermans, has repeatedly expressed his “concern” about some of the changes and asked clarification from Prime Minister Dancila in a letter sent in early October.
“The commission is closely analysing the conformity of these legislative amendments with EU law, in particular as regards Romania’s obligations to protect the financial interests of the EU and to comply with the EU criminal law”, Timmermans wrote in the letter, a copy of which was seen by AFP.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis