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Laws on Paper Should Not be Paper Laws

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21 Iul 2004 - 00:00

POLITICS - July 21 2004

Jonathan Scheele, the head of the EU Delegation to Bucharest, criticized the "Romanian way" of adopting laws but failing to abide by them, as well as the heavy involvement of the political class in corruption cases.

CAMELIA IONESCU

He was not impressed with the last-minute claims of the Executive that by year-end all reforms of the judiciary, economy and democratic standards for a free press will be completed. Scheele said that "all these reforms must also put into being."

He is forecasting a realistic three to four years for actually making the new laws work in the real world. "What matters is for the [reform] process to be irreversible," said Scheele in an interview with Radio Free Europe.

With regard to the reform of the judiciary, the European official cut short the euphoria displayed by optimists. "If one were to tell me at this very moment: look, we passed all the bills and we will enforce them by year-end, and the whole system will start operating, then I would not believe it possible. The reform of the system would be visible only in four years, to give a realistic estimate," said Scheele.

He also pointed out that "when we speak about corruption, then politics come into play, and this we could go two different ways. On the one hand, if only some corruption cases are dealt with, then some political parties might criticize the move. On the other hand, corruption cannot be overlooked, since this is the most important matter of concern to the Romanian public and electorate." This is why Scheele advised political parties to prove the public that they are actually fighting corruption. "If politicians would do their best to bring to justice those guilty of corruption, than this could turn into an advantage at the polls," said he. (TR. NOTE: Romania had general and presidential elections in November this year.)

"Having only a legal framework [along the EU requirements] would not solve the issue. One has to have both the legislation in place and proof that the reform of the judiciary does not stop to passing the bills through parliament but goes beyond that and is enforced and abided by. This is a situation that cannot be assessed for the moment."

Translation: ANCA PADURARU

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