Am transmis astazi o scrisoare deschisa catre lideri ai grupurilor politice din Parlamentul European:

Attn. of:

Mr. Udo Bullman, President of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists andDemocrats Group

Mrs. Ska Keller, Co-President of the Greens/EPA Group

Mr. Manfred Weber, President of the European People’s Party Group

 

Dear Mrs. Ska Keller, Dear Mr. Udo Bullman, and Dear Mr. Manfred Weber,

We would like to thank you very much for your interest in regards to the state of democracy in Romania.

Please find below an open letter drafted for your information, after your meetings, this week, with the Romanian Prime Minister, Viorica Dancila.

Mircea Toma

President of ActiveWatch

 

Open letter

Current Romanian leaders adhere to European values only when in Brussels

Taking into account the recent disinformation campaign carried out by the Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă during her visit at Brussels this week, we would like to bring to your attention some of the actions of the current Romanian Government coalition that are in direct conflict with the Prime Minister’s declarations.

During her visit, Viorica Dăncilă made claims that the Romanian authorities respect democratic values and principles, including freedom of expression, which, according to her, "is not, and will never be limited or suspended". In fact, since the accession to power of the current government coalition, comprised of the Social Democrat Party (PSD) and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats Party (ALDE), the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are constantly being challenged in Romania. Three examples:

  • The Bucharest city hall, under PSD administration, has denied protestors the right to rally in front of the city hall and in front of the headquarters of PSD and ALDE, claiming that an NGO has already notified protests that would take place each day throughout the year, from 10AM to 8PM in these locations. In fact, this NGO has ties with PSD and nobody is protesting in any of these locations. However, since the Romanian law on public gatherings does not allow two protests to take place at the same place during the same hours, this allows the Gendarmerie and the Police to fine and prevent people from protesting in these locations.
  • Soon after the PSD-ALDE coalition has gain majority in the Board of Directors of the National Council for Combating Discrimination (NCCD), the institution has applied unjust or disproportionate fines in at least 4 cases concerning public communicators or politicians that are critical to the current administration, while ignoring or downplaying blatant cases of hate speech coming from high-ranking PSD members. Some of the fines that have been abusively imposed by the NCCD have already been rejected by courts. This consolidated the assumption that the institution has become a tool for repressing voices critical to the current ruling coalition.
  • The Minister of Internal Affairs has announced this week plans to change the law on public gatherings, making it mandatory for protestors to obtain a protest authorization. Currently, the law requires protestors only to notify the protest, not to obtain any kind of authorization, although, in practice, these notifications usually lead to negotiating certain aspects of the organization of the public gathering with the local authorities.

Also, in what regards sexual minority rights, PM Dăncilă has claimed that the upcoming referendum on the constitutional ban of same-sex marriages is not aimed against any sexual minority (yet, if adopted, it would make it extremely hard for same-sex couples to ever be granted, in the future, a right to marry or start a family in Romania - our comment) and that PSD will not carry out any campaign aimed at influencing voters’ opinion. In fact:

  • High-ranking PSD leaders, including president Liviu Dragnea and Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea have publicly claimed that they will vote for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.
  • PSD politicians and members of Parliament, together with politicians from other parties, have taken part in meetings with high-ranking members of the Romanian Orthodox Church, a strong supporter of the ban on same-sex marriages, to discuss the upcoming referendum.
  • The Government, lead by Viorica Dăncilă, has adopted an Emergency Ordinance that will allow the referendum to take place during two days, a measure that has never been taken before in the history of Romanian referendums and elections. The measure would increase the chances for the referendum to be validated, since a minimum presence of 30% of the voters is required for constitutional changes.

Taken all this into account, we urge the European Parliament, the European Commission as well as the Progressive Alliance of Socialists andDemocrats and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe to take all the measures needed to help restore Romania on its European track.

Mircea Toma

President

ActiveWatch

ActiveWatch is a human rights organization and a media watchdog in Romania, with over 20 years of experience in promoting good governance policies for protecting the rights to freedom of expression, freedom to peaceful assembly, and minority rights.

ActiveWatch is a member of the Reporters without Borders Network, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), and the International Network Against Cyber-hate.

ActiveWatch / CC BY 3.0