[JURIST] Romanian President Traian Basescu [official website, English version; BBC profile] has called for a national referendum to allow citizens to vote on amendments to the constitution aimed at reducing corruption. In a speech [PDF text, in Romanian] to parliament Wednesday, Basescu said he would like to amend the Romanian constitution [text] to allow citizens to vote for lawmakers based on their name, rather than by party. Following its entrance into the European Union [official website] and the accompanying mandate to reduce corruption, such an amendment, according to Basescu, would make politicians more accountable. Last March, Romania allowed prosecutors to pursue corruption investigations into legislators and ministers by passing a law which eliminated their immunity. Bloomberg has more.
Bulgaria and Romania officially became the EU's newest members [JURIST report] on January 1, 2007, after six years of accession negotiations. The entrance date had been set for the former Eastern bloc nations since 2005 [JURIST report], but the EU had issued warnings [JURIST report] that accession could be delayed if corruption and human rights violations were not addressed. After efforts to comply with EU standards, the EU approved the 2007 entry [EC press release] of the countries in September of 2006. The European Commission has emphasized that both nations will be expected to show additional progress in the areas of "judicial reform, [the] fight against corruption and organised crime," to be demonstrated through biannual progress reports. Failure to comply could result in EU intervention and potential loss of economic aid under Articles 36 to 38 of the Act of Accession [text], which lay out safeguard mechanisms in the event of problems posing a threat to the functioning of the Union.