President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday during a meeting with journalists that “there is an evident risk of EU’s Article 7 being activated for Romania as well, just like it was for Poland, if the justice laws are adopted in their current form”.
The President called out the Justice Minister for not discussing the proposed changes to the justice laws with him before launching a public debate, adding that he thinks it would have been the reasonable thing to do for Tudorel Toader, who is avoiding him.
Iohannis also said that he didn’t speak to representatives of the judiciary system either, since that is the job of the Justice Minister, who seems to have other things on his mind.
Iohannis added, “If anyone imagines that there won’t be any consequences, they are simply out of touch with reality.”
Iohannis has the option of challenging the laws with the Constitutional Court after they are passed by Parliament, and he has also spoken about a referendum on the subject of justice in the past, which he says is still a possibility but that he is not going to use it for now.
Asked about the criticism he has received for not being very vocal lately, namely during the ongoing scandal regarding the justice laws, Iohannis stated that, from his point of view, he has already said what had to be said and that his opinion has not changed, but that he will be more vocal about this subject when the right time comes.
The President expressed his worry that Romania may risk being sanctioned by the EU in the same way as Poland was today, when Article 7 (also known as the “nuclear option”) was activated which may result in Poland’s voting rights in the EU Council being withdrawn. He added that Romania’s entry into the Schengen area is not imminent.
Iohannis also spoke about the budget proposed by the government for 2018, mentioning the fact that he had a discussion with PM Tudose: “There are a few very debatable areas. This budget doesn’t solve the issue regarding our deviation from the deficit target”.