After a short term in office, even by Romanian standards, social democratic prime minister Mihai Tudose has been forced to resign after just seven moths because of his involvement in scandals. His predecessor Sorin Grineanu suffered a similar fate in in the middle of 2017.
Liviu Dragnea, leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and President of the Chamber of Deputies since the PSD’s victory in the last election, has been facing court since 30 January 2017 for abuse of office in his position as Teleoman County Council President and for forging documents. He has also been under investigation since November 2017 by local authorities, based on information from the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).
Presidential candidate Victor-Viorel Ponta Presidential, who resigned after a sensational constitutional dispute with the then-president, faced a number of allegations over personal misconduct.
Observers view the events in the Balkan state, only a few of which are mentioned here, as symptomatic of a society in which frontmen use informal internal party power and favours to steer a country’s affairs at will and gain financial advantages. A constitutional and consolidated moral consciousness is apparently completely foreign to these persons and has been replaced by mafia-like power structures from ‘offstage’.
Mass protests against amnesty legislation
In spring 2017, the government had to repeal an amnesty-like law that would have classified corruption up to an ‘estimated value’ of EUR 40,000 as a non-punishable bagatelle. The Romanian public has been openly protesting against these abuses, despite widespread adverse socio-economic living conditions and obvious personal risks.
Abuse of office endangers data protection
However, according to those in the know, the fundamental rule of law in Romania is in a worrying state. They have also pointed out the enormous difference in practice between national efforts to protect against state arbitrariness and abuse of office by a clientele society, especially in terms of the relation of citizens to state power. These different degrees of rule of law should be duly considered, even if they have little in common with the harmonious image of the EU that is officially put forward. This should be taken into account in current and future considerations regarding a possible expansion of political and legal communitisation.
The range of topics concerning this has almost no limits. Who would trust in an environment of commitment to data protection where, as a sign of cross-border digital access, data can also be accessed in the Balkans? The interoperability of effective administrative data processes must be in line with these realities, even with the issues of justifying this diplomatically.