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Romanian Justice Minister Vows to Block EU Appointment of Former Anti-Corruption Prosecutor

Laura Codruta Kovesi is leading candidate for newly created position of EU public prosecutor.

6 February 2019

During her stint as head of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA), Laura Corduta Kovesi’s (pictured) endeavors to weed out corruption from Romanian politics made her more popular abroad than in some circles at home. The trend has continued after her dismissal last July, with Romanian Justice Minister Tudorel Toader now saying that he will do all that he can to prevent her appointment as the European Union’s chief prosecutor.

 

“I believe the members of the Selection Commission don’t know about Kovesi’s abuses, which were detrimental to citizens, and to the Romanian state,” Toader told Romanian daily news site Stiripesurse.ro on Monday, after news of Kovesi being shortlisted for the position emerged. 

 

Sent by European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, and cited by Stiripesurse.ro, the press release announcing her nomination also mentions that Kovesi is the top choice for the position, followed by French and German candidates.

 

Toader, who was the architect of Kovesi’s dismissal, also said that he would be writing to all EU justice ministers “to inform them why she was removed from office.”

 

Kovesi has already taken Romania to court at the European Court of Human Rights because of her dismissal, on the grounds that her “rights were violated – such as the rights to a fair trial, the right to defense, the right to appeal,” she told journalists last month, according to Balkan Insight. She also added that her motivation was neither material nor that of getting her old position back, but “a matter of principle.”

 

Former Justice Minister Raluca Pruna told Romanian daily Republica that Toader cannot block Kovesi’s appointment. “Ironically, the more Toader criticizes her, the more it increases her chances,” Pruna said, drawing a parallel with Poland’s former Prime Minister Donald Tusk, whose successful bid to become European Council president met with opposition in Warsaw from his political rivals.

 

 

  • An online petition launched yesterday in support of Kovesi’s appointment has already received more than 45,000 signatures as of today.  

 

  • The same EP press release says that the successful candidate would lead a judicial institution responsible for investigating and bringing to justice those responsible for jeopardizing the EU’s financial interests, and their accomplices. The institution is meant to start its activity by the end of 2020.

 

  • The European Commission will decide on the successful candidate by the end of this month, and after that the European Parliament needs to approve the appointment.  
Compiled by Ioana Caloianu
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