President Klaus Iohannis is presiding the first plenary session of CSM (the Superior Magistracy Council) of this year today, during which a new leadership of the Council will be elected. 

Justice Minister Tudorel Toader and General Prosecutor Augustin Lazar are also participating in the meeting.

At the beginning of the session, Klaus Iohannis held a speech in which he congratulated the activity of CSM in 2017, which he called a very complicated year in terms of politics for Romania.

“When I became president, I promised that I will adopt a different way of doing politics, with fewer fireworks and more results. I then thought that some things become obvious with time and they don’t need to be said every year. Justice in Romania is and has to remain independent. I, the president of Romania, will do anything I am constitutionally able to help you guarantee the independence of the justice system. You’ll have a reliable partner in me.

I am very pleased about how CSM knew how to get involved in order to guarantee judicial independence, in 2017 and in the years before. I am convinced that you will continue to do so, because there is no other way for Romania”.

Iohannis also said that the fact that some politicians are saying the justice system should find its own way is very worrying and should be taken very seriously.

“The independence of justice cannot be discussed, this has to remain and is a part of the core of the democracy we want to build in Romania, part of the EU values and base architecture of a 21st century state.

Considering the fact that we have a number of persons at the leadership of the state who are being criminally prosecuted or even convicted, it should not come as a surprise. I’ve said a number of times and I will continue to say that such people have no place in the top ranks of the state. They will always have a personal interest and willingness to question justice. The constitutional system is built in such a way that the access of such persons at the head of the state is allowed. I am convinced that if we ever start reviewing the constitutional architecture, an integrity principle for important roles has to be included”.

On the new laws of justice, Iohannis said: “Changes have been proposed which I find very lacking in transparency, through a procedure we haven’t seen before, in a special commission of parliament. From my point of view, I did not understand why a clear procedure was not followed. (…) All the opinions that came from inside the system were ignored”.

The president stated that he will talk more about the content of the proposed justice laws when they are sent to him and he will have the option to sign, send back or send an unconstitutionality notice to the Constitutional Court.

“I continue to hope that these laws will be improved”, added Iohannis.