The European Commission criticized Romania on Friday for “backsliding on the rule of law.”
Margaritis Schinas, Chief Spokesperson of the European Commission, expressed the Commission’s concern over Romania’s treatment of Laura Codruța Kövesi. Kövesi served as Romania’s chief prosecutor from 2013 to 2018 and is currently in the running to head the new European Public Prosecutor’s Office, which will investigate fraud, corruption and organized crime across the EU. Schinas called for fair treatment of Kövesi, who was indicted on Thursday for corruption charges and barred from leaving Romania. Kövesi called the indictment “a campaign of harassment and intimidation” designed to block her appointment to the EPPO.
The European Parliament selected Kövesi to be its candidate for the EPPO chief position, against the opposition of Romania, which currently holds the EU’s six-month rotating presidency. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani expressed concern over Romania’s judicial action against Kövesi and indicated his team would continue to support her candidacy. The EU member governments support Jean-François Bohnert, an attorney general from France.
The Commission’s announcement echoed a statement the Commission made last year in which it expressed concern that Romania was failing to promote the rule of law and meet the necessary benchmarks of a member nation.