The appointment of Kovesi as EU chief-prosecutor is now a matter of mere formality

21 sep. 12:48 English Section
EMILIA OLESCU (TRANSLATED BY COSMIN GHIDOVEAN)
The appointment of Kovesi as EU chief-prosecutor is now a matter of mere formality

In spite of - or perhaps because of the opposition of the power in Bucharest, Laura Codruţa Kovesi got the support to become the chief-prosecutor of the European Union (EU).

Elected with 17 votes out of 22, Kovesi got a positive approval from the EU Council from the ambassadors of the EU member states, for the position of European prosecutor, Dacian Cioloş, leader of the Renew group of the European Parliament announced on September 19th.

MEP Siegfried Mureşan said: "Laura-Codruţa Kovesi has now categorically won the vote for the position of chief-prosecutor in the Council of the European Union. Our candidate got 17 votes out of 22. This is a crushing victory. Justice won. Romania of honest people won".

Cioloş further says that the former head of the National Anti-corruption Department (DNA) has persuaded through "integrity and competence" she has shown when leading the DNA and the Public Prosecutor's Department.

Dacian Cioloş posted the following on his Facebook page: "Our efforts in the European Parliament are yielding fruit. I am happy that Laura Codruţa Kovesi has received today (ed. note: yesterday) a positive vote in the Council from the ambassadors of the member states and thus has a clear path to become a European chief-prosecutor. I want to congratulate her, it is her merit that she has arrived at this point and that she has convinced everyone, through integrity and competence shown in leading the DNA and the Public Prosecutor's Department. We have succeeded, together with the colleagues of the USR PLUS Alliance and those of the Renew Europe group to act in a coordinated manner to overcome the political deadlock that existed until today, partially also due to the opposition of the PSD government. Fortunately, France and other governments of the EU member states to which we talked over the last few months have changed their stance and today (ed. note: September 19th) they voted for the Romanian candidate, as it should have happened from the beginning, had the PSD not acted in opposition to the Romanian interest".

After being voted in the COREPER to be European chief-prosecutor, Laura Codruţa Kovesi pointed out that yesterday's vote is a success for all the Romanians who have supported the fight against corruption over the last few years. The former head of the National Anti-corruption Department said, in a televised show: "That procedure is not yet completed. We will have to wait for the official decision. I think that it is a recognition of the activity of the entire judicial system. I equally think that it is a success of all the Romanians, who, over the last few years have supported the anti-corruption fight and have defended the rule of law, especially during the more difficult times. I think what also mattered was the fact that I got the top score on the technical interview, but I think that this vote, just like the one in the European parliament, is a vote of confidence, of support of a society which has backed the judicial system and the European values and without the help of which I wouldn't have made it either".

Iohannis: "I will continue to back Romanians with integrity in leading EU positions"

President Klaus Iohannis said that the COREPER vote for the appointment of Laura Codruţa Kovesi as European chief-prosecutor is an important victory for Romania: "Just as I've acted in this particular case, I will continue to back Romanians with integrity for leading EU positions".

He said: "Today's result (ed. note: September 19th) represents an important victory for Romania, especially since it was obtained despite the fact the PSD government has constantly tried to block the candidacy of a professional, recognized for their fight against corruption and in defense of the rule of law".

Unofficial sources: Romanian EU ambassador did not follow the mandate of the Dăncilă government to vote against Kovesi

The victory of Laura Codruţa Kovesi came despite the fact that on September 18th, PM Viorica Dăncilă had announced that the Romanian government did not back her for the position of European chief-prosecutor: "I've said it and I repeat it - I do not, we do not support a term for Laura Codruţa Kovesi. We do not support a term for her because I find it the natural thing to do, when there are accusations against someone, when there are suspicions around them, regardless of their position or the one they're running for, those things need to be clarified and then she needs to take that position. So I stand by my position so far". The statement came as a response to how the EU ambassador at the EU, Luminiţa Odobescu, would vote in the case of the candidacy of Laura Codruţa Kovesi.

According to some unofficial statements, the EU ambassador did not follow the mandate of the Dăncilă government and actually voted for the former head of the DNA.

The Facebook page of Viorica Dăncilă was flooded with thousands of congratulation comments for Laura Codruţa Kovesi, from those expressing their joy that in spite the opposition of the PSD, of Liviu Dragnea and of the prime-minister, Kovesi would become the first chief-prosecutor of the European Union.

Liviu Pop, PSD, doubts the results of Kovesi in the fight against corruption

PSD senator Liviu Pop doubts the results of Laura Codruţa Kovesi in the fight against corruption. He said: "What is the biggest case she ever worked on in Romania? Small potatoes and a lot of PR. She has a legally uncertain position from a legal point of view, she is surrounded by suspicions, which is why we cannot support this proposal".

The senator said that "the management of the institution which she led was flawed in the case of many of its county subsidiaries".

Dan Barna, USR: "Corruption will be defeated!"

Prior to being elected for the European Prosecutor's Office , USR leader Dan Barna sent an unconditional support message for Laura Codruţa Kovesi: "Corruption will be defeated! One year ago after endless harrassment, Liviu Dragnea had imposed his will and succeeded in removing Laura Codruţa Kovesi from the DNA. When president Iohannis signed the revocation degree we were in the midst of the campaign to raise signatures for the initiative #Farapenali (ed. note: something like "no felons in politics). This was one of the moments which strengthened our resolve. «Corruption can be defeated», Mrs. Kovesi said at the time. She said it at the DNA, we said in the street. That's how we got one million signatures for #farapenali. USR and PLUS supported her last year and they still do, in order for her to carry out her mission. We will support her for the term as European prosecutor, with the regret that without her, the fight against corruption in Romania will go back to the customs agents taking 70 Euro bribes. Kovesi will continue to fight for justice in Europe. With our unconditional support".

Dragoş Tudorache, co-president of the delegation of the USR PLUS Alliance in the European Parliament, said that on his arrival in Brussels, there was a deadlock in the appointment of Kovesi în fruntea Parchetului European, because the European Parliament supported her, but the Council of the European Union backed the French candidate. He added: "Heavy negotiations followed, in order to support several member states to change their position, and we have done that in a coordinated manner, talking to the heads of governments represented in the Renew Europe group. The most important argument in the position change by the COREPER was the fact that France announced its support for Codruţa Kovesi, and that happened through major efforts and meetings we have had with our French colleagues in the group, as well as from other states that did not have a clear position".

Cristian Ghinea, co-chairman of the USR PLUS mission in the European Parliament, said: "This result shows that we can have significant influence in Europe if we set our mind to it. We have announced that since the electoral campaign that we are going to do everything to gain influence in the EU and we are going to use it for Romania's benefit. Today we see what it means to have European influence and to support a Romanian candidate at full strength. The merits are obviously those of Laura Codruţa Kovesi because she has a flawless CV and she has persuaded through the extraordinary work she has performed at the DNA".

Ludovic Orban, PNL: "The vote for Kovesi is a huge slap received by the Dăncilă government from the European states"

The vote granted yesterday to Laura Codruţa Kovesi is a huge victory for Romania, to which president Iohannis has also contributed, said PNL president Ludovic Orban, who said that the National Liberal Party, as member of the PPE, has used every leverage to get this result, succeeding in making countries who initially didn't vote for Laura Codruţa Kovesi change their stance: "We have obtained the decision to maintain the support of the European Parliament after the European elections and we have succeeded in accelerating the formation of the negotiation commission to thus resume the vote from the COREPER. This success is even more important, as the Dăncilă government argued against its Romanian candidate through an aggressive and toxic fake news campaign.

It is also a huge slap received by the Dăncilă government from the European countries. The message sent to the PSD government is that the positions which they take are not being taken into consideration, they do not comply with the European approaches. The current government is irrelevant and cannot obtain anything good for Romania".

MEP Siegfried Mureşan told us, a few days ago, that "if the option of the Council will coincide with the option of the Parliament, then the appointment will be done basically instantly".

The competitor of Laura Codruta Kovesi was the Frenchman Jean-Francois Bohnert. The negotiations on the matter stopped prior to the elections for the European parliament. Since then, Bohnert has been officially appointed as the head of the Financial Prosecutor's Office in France, by the French minister of Justice. After being appointed for that position, Jean-Francois Bohnert did not withdraw his candidacy for the European Prosecutor's Office, because it had been made on his own behalf, not by France. France changed its stance and announced that it backs Laura Codruţa Kovesi. Moreover, Bohnert said that a potential withdrawal of his candidacy would have led to the resumption of the procedure for the selection and appointment of the candidates, and as a result, he opted to maintain his initial stance.

The European Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) will have its headquarters in Luxembourg and will be made up of a chief-prosecutor and a college of prosecutors from every participating country. They will be coordinating the current investigations conducted by the delegate prosecutors from every participating state. The EPPO will complement the activity of the OLAF (European Antifraud Office) and Eurojust (an agency of the European Union which handles the penal judicial cooperation between the agencies of the member states), which are not equipped for investigating or prosecuting individual penal cases.

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