The FINANCIAL -- Romania's
Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Wednesday pledged to observe a top court
ruling on the referendum to impeach president Traian Basecu, in a bid to
reassure the EU ahead of a crucial report.
"The government and myself have backed interim president Crin Antonescu's decision to sign into law" a constitutional court ruling imposing a turnout threshold for the referendum to be valid, Ponta told a press conference.
"In Brussels I pledged that this text will be valid and enforced during the July 29 referendum," he added.
As EUbusiness reported, on Monday, Antonescu yielded to pressure from the European Commission and signed a law endorsing the court's decision.
But an MP of the ruling left-wing Social Liberal Union (USL) on Wednesday submitted an amendment scrapping the turnout threshold, in a move aimed at making it easier to impeach centre-right Basescu.
The upper house of parliament voted down the amendment and the lower house was expected to vote on it later Wednesday.
"Antonescu and myself (...) are determined to observe the court's ruling, even if we deem it unjust, and are prepared to make personal and political sacrifices so that Romania may be considered a serious partner complying with democratic rules," Ponta stressed.
The prime minister also said Romania was taking seriously the European Commission's report on the reform of the judiciary due to be published shortly in Brussels.
"We think that a monitoring mechanism is beneficial ... and that the shortcomings pointed out by the Commission must be set straight," he said.
The EU executive delivered a harsh verdict on Romania's respect for democratic values and threatened tighter policing to ensure respect for the rule of law, in a preliminary report seen by AFP on Tuesday.
"A well functioning, independent judicial system, and respect for democratic institutions are indispensable for mutual trust within the European Union," says the 22-page draft European Commission report.
"The Commission considers that recent steps by the Romanian government raise serious concerns about the respect of these fundamental principles."