José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, was certainly right to say in his ‘state of the Union’ speech last week that we need a more integrated and democratic Europe. The plight of the eurozone means that we now face an unavoidable choice between further integration and the inevitability of disintegration. We know that we have to move forward, but we can only do so on the basis of consent. Securing that consent will be a huge challenge, requiring a delicate balance between the diverse national and political traditions that make up our continent. It can only therefore succeed if the European Union is able to build real popular legitimacy. That is why many of us are concerned about the Commission’s recent handling of the constitutional crisis in Romania and why we hope that Barroso will seek to draw a line under it when he meets Romania’s prime minister, Victor Ponta, today. (via A critique too far | European Voice)
- Romania’s political difficulties are complex. The Romanian government certainly deserves criticism for acting with too much haste and without having explained its intentions internationally.
- But Reding reacted as if the government was the main and only cause for concern. She chose to ignore the abuses of office for which President Traian Băsescu was found guilty by Romania’s constitutional court, his repeated attempts to influence the judiciary, his unwillingness to respect the limits of his constitutional authority and his refusal to accept the majority will of parliament.
- The majority coalition of liberals and socialists was perfectly entitled to suspend Băsescu according to the provisions of the Romanian constitution. As the constitutional court confirmed, they followed the rules at every stage, securing a parliamentary majority, holding a referendum and respecting the result. For Reding to describe this as an attempted “coup” was irresponsible and insulting, especially as she repeated it days before the referendum.