The Economist on Romania: Can you really fight corruption in one of the EU’s most corrupt countries?

Sorin Melenciuc 17/08/2018 | 10:45

The British economic journal The Economist posted a video on its Facebook page about Romania, explaining to its readers from all over the world what is happening in this Eastern European country, which became a subject of interest following the violent clashes between Gendarmes and protesters on August 10.

The Economist’s video has a short commentary from its authors: “What does it take to clean up a corrupt state? In one of the European Union’s most corrupt countries a prosecutor has taken on the establishment, convicting over a thousand Romanian officials.”

The video produced by The Economist shows how “protesters are battling police in the streets, angry with their government and what they see as a culture of state corruption”, using images from the violent Gendarmerie’s intervention against protesters on August 10 in Bucharest.

“Bribery, backhanders and the misuse of public funds have damaged and divided this country,” The Economist explains to its readers.

According to the British economic journal, while the protest movement has had limited success in Romania, Romanian anti-corruption body (DNA) has had much larger impact on corrupt officials.

DNA has already convicted over 1,000 Romanian corrupt public officials.

The Economist’s video contain an interview with Laura Codruta Kovesi, the former head of DNA.

She says: “Without true independence, a prosecutor can never tackle high-level corruption. As a prosecutor fighting high-level corruption, you have to be prepared to be scrutinised either through a media campaign brought against you or harassment and intimidation campaigns. The best response to these campaigns pf slander and intimidation is to do a good job on the case files and to get convictions.”

According to The Economist, Romanian government’s response to Ms Kovesi’s prolific conviction rates was simply to reduce the pain of being convicted, by limiting jail terms and sentences for corrupt officials in 2018.

“Three days after this interview, Ms Kovesi was sacked,” The Economist says at the end of the video.

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