Civil and academic Initiative for defending democratic principles and preserve the rule of law in Romania
The President of the European Council, His Excellency Herman Achille Van Rompuy
The President of the European Commission, His Excellency Jose Manuel Durao Barroso
The Vice-President of the European Commission, Her Excellency Viviane Reding
The Commissioner for Home Affairs, Her Excellency Cecilia Malmstrom
To the Secretary General of the European Commission, Ms. Catherine Day
Bucharest, July 20, 2012
We are a group of Romanian intellectuals - scholars, academics, and researchers in fundamental, applied, and humanistic sciences, writers, and artists. Some of us are veterans of Romania’s democratic movement, others are representatives of a younger generation, but all of us are ardent defenders of European values. Many of us are not involved in any way in politics; some have various affiliations and sympathies. We express here a non-partisan viewpoint. Our only goal is to defend democratic principles and preserve the rule of law, as we did starting in December 1989.
We are now deeply troubled by external reactions to recent political events in our country. We hope this letter will help to clear up any misconceptions about the current situation and invite dialogue about the way forward. For we are deeply concerned by recent accusations that the Romanian Parliament and Government undermined the rule of law and judicial independence in its attempts to remove President Traian Basescu. It is hard for us to see that outstanding representatives of the European Union expressed a position ignoring a basic principle of law, audiatur et altera pars. This position could only have been arrived at based on misleading or incomplete information about the true nature of the situation within Romania.
Please allow us to draw upon our scholarly expertise and intimate knowledge of the political climate to present a few brief points:
· The Constitutional Court of Romania is not part of Romania’s independent judicial structure. Rather, it is a politically-appointed institution, and its exclusive vocation is to arbitrate in constitutional matters.
· The Constitutional Court recognized that, in substituting the role of the Prime Minister, President Basescu transgressed the basic principle of the separation and balance of powers. The government became in fact responsible not before the Parliament, as it is in all the democratic European Countries, but actually before the President, as in the Russian Federation. The Parliament tended to become a void shell when the ruling majority was not allowed to cast its votes whenever there was a risk of a dissident opinion. As such, his suspension from office by the Parliament is in conformity with the Romanian constitution, and will be confirmed or not by a general referendum, organized in the strictest respect of the law.
President Basescu speaks openly and freely about his role as a player, in spite of the fact that such a role is contrary to the constitutional definition of the Romanian president as a mediator.
Other recent incidents confirm our fears concerning the way in which president Basescu understands his competences:
· In 2009, the parliament voted a motion of censure against the current government, which was dismissed by law. The President refused to recognize the proposal of the majority, as was his due, and did not appoint as Prime Minister the Mayor of the City of Sibiu, Mr. Klaus Johannis, supported by a large majority, but prorogated instead the dismissed government only to be sure that a favorable team will organize his re-election as President of Romania.
· The President declared live in an interview on TV that he had appointed by his own will both the heads of the Secret Services, who by law have to be appointed by the Parliament; recently, he added that he “almost made his mind” about the future General Attorney, who by law is proposed by the Minister of Justice, with the support of the independent Superior Council of the Magistrates.
· Only a few days ago, the President told a reporter on TV that, when the German Chancellor Angela Merkel asked him if the Romanian Constitution contains any procedure of suspension from office of the President, he answered that it does not. Maybe it was a slip of the tongue, but how can we put our country’s fate in such hands? The article 95 of the Romanian constitution is explicit, and defines the procedure of suspension, from its initiation to the end of the process; the fact that the German - or any other European constitution does not is of no consequence in the matter.
That is why, over the last few years, average Romanians have become increasingly distressed by the actions taken by President Basescu and his associates. Voters elected his government and himself based on a platform of justice, fairness, and welfare for citizens. Instead, the President in person played his executive role when he initiated savage cuts of the wages and pensions of millions of teachers, soldiers, medical practitioners, judges, and civil servants, decimating the emergent middle class. At the same time, the public funds which paid the patrons of the dominating party increased year by year, in defiance of the general rhetoric of austerity.
Perhaps even more troubling were the manifestations of intolerance among some of the supporters of the President. Not a few leaders of the President’s party declared that the Roma minority of Romania was “genetically programmed” to break the laws. We are constantly told —echoing the president himself—that the European ideal of a society that guarantees a decent life for all is obsolete, and should be replaced by a “competitive” society in which only the fittest and the strongest survive. This brutal form of Social Darwinism is opposed to the democratic values of the European Union that we so eagerly embraced in the last twenty years.
These are only a few of the recent events that sparked citizen demonstrations last winter in more than 60 Romanian cities. This popular rejection of intolerance and economic disparity will culminate in our referendum on 29 July. We sincerely hope this referendum will prove that democratic ideals are deeply rooted in Romanian society, vibrant and full of life.
We truly appreciate the time and care you give to considering the context we present above regarding Romania’s political climate at this delicate time. We hope that your statements of support in favor of the Romanian democracy will likewise reflect such complex facts, and that together we may pursue our common interest in a democratic, prosperous, and tolerant future both for Romania, and for the European Union.
With our outmost consideration,
Nicolae Anastasiu, PhD, professor emeritus, member of the Romanian Academy, Liviu Antonesei, PhD, professor, Department of Psychology and Educational Sciences, « Al. I .Cuza » University Iasi ; writer and journalist, Vasile Astarastoae, Dr., Dr. Med, prof. univ., President of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy « Gr. T. Popa », Iasi, Chairperson, Colegiul Medicilor din Romania – « Council of Physicians in Romania », Horia Barna, writer, translator, Vlad Bedros, PhD, assistant professor, National University of Arts, Bucharest, Corina Bernic, writer, translator, Cultural manager for Central and East Europe, a programme of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, Andrei Bodiu, PhD, writer, Valentin – Victor Bottez, PhD, lecturer, Department of Ancient History, Archaeology and History of Art, Faculty of History, University of Bucharest, Romulus Brancoveanu, PhD, professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Bucharest, Bianca Burta-Cernat, literary critic, Anca Calangiu, philologist, translator, Ileana Cazan, PhD, senior researcher, deputy chair, Romanian Academy, Institute of History”Nicolae Iorga”, Bucharest, Paul Cernat, literary critic, Marius Chelcu, PhD, Romanian Academy, "A.D. Xenopol" Institute of History, Iaşi, Mihai Chioveanu, PhD, associate professor, Department Political Sciences, delegate of Romania in the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research, Mirana Cioba, PhD, associate professor, Department of Foreign Languages and Litterature, Chair of Ibero-Romance languages, University of Bucharest, Alin Ciupala, PhD, associate professor, Department of Romanian History, University of Bucharest, Razvan Constantinescu, DrMed., University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Gr.T. Popa”, Iasi, Center for Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Emanuel Copilas, Ph.D., assitant professor, Department of Political Sciences, “Universitatea de Vest” Timisoara, Marius Costa, DrMed., physician, Anni Costa, independent journalist, Eugen Cuteanu, Dr. Eng., Dorin David, researcher, “Transilvania” University Brasov, Iarina Demian, actress, director, writer, Georgeta Dimisianu, independent publicist, editor, Nicolae Iordan-Constantinescu, PhD, associate professor, Banking and Finance University, Bucharest, Octavian G. Duliu, PhD, professor, Department of Physics, University of Bucharest, Serban Foarţă, writer, Ildiko Gabor -Foarţă, psychologist, translator, Monica Ghetz, PhD, writer, Marius Ghilezan, writer, Cristian E. Ghita, PhD, post-doctoral researcher, University of Bucharest, Mihai Dinu Gheorghiu, PhD, professor, « Al. I .Cuza » University Iasi, Mihaela Grancea, PhD, professor, « Lucian Blaga » University, Sibiu, Andreea Grecu, PhD, cultural manager, Association of Cultural Operators from Romania, Ladislau Gyemant, PhD, professor, Director of the Institute for Judaistic, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, Constantin Hlihor, PhD, Dean of the Department of History, Christian University "Dimitrie Cantemir", Bucharest, Octavian Hoandra, writer, independent journalist, Adrian Paul Iliescu, PhD, Department of Philosophy, University of Bucharest, Eugen Ionescu, DrMed., Hospices Civils de Lyon, Corina Iosif, PhD, senior researcher, Romanian Academy, Institute of Ethnography, Cluj – Napoca, Florin Lazarescu, writer, Ion Bogdan Lefter, PhD, literary critic, cultural and political analyst, writer, professor,Department of Letters, University of Bucharest, Sabin Adrian Luca, PhD, professor, “Lucian Blaga” University, General Director, Brukenthal Museum, Sibiu, Ecaterina Lung, PhD, professor, Department of Ancient History, Archaeology and History of Art, University of Bucharest, Coman Lupu, PhD Department of Foreign Languages and Litterature, Chair of Ibero-Romance languages, University of Bucharest, Alexandru Mamina, PhD, senior researcher, Romanian Academy, Institute of History ”Nicolae Iorga”, Bucharest, Sorin Marculescu, writer, Tudor A. Marian, PhD, professor emeritus of Physics, University of Bucharest, Paulina Marian, PhD, professor of Physics, University of Bucharest, Alexandra Mitrea, PhD, Associate professor, Dean, Department of
Letters and Arts, “Lucian Blaga” University, Sibiu, Andrei Muraru, lecturer, « Al. I. Cuza » University, Iasi, Oana Murarus, PhD, professor, Department of Letters, University of Bucharest, Marina Muresanu Ionescu, PhD, professor, Department of French Language and Literature, University « Al. I .Cuza » Iasi, Carmen Musat, PhD, associate prfessor, Department of Letters, University of Bucharest ; editor in chief, “Observatorul Cultural” Bucharest, Lucian Nastasa-Kovács, PhD, Romanian Academy, Institute of History "George Baritiu", Cluj, Victor Neumann, PhD, professor, Department of Letters, History and Theology, Director of the Doctoral School of Conceptual History„Reinhart Koselleck” Universitatea de Vest, Timișoara
Viorica Niscov, independent researcher, translator, Gheorghe Vlad Nistor, PhD, professor, Department of Ancient History, Archaeology and History of Art, University of Bucharest, Cristian Olariu, Ph.D., Associate professor, Department of Ancient History, Archaeology and History of Art, Faculty of History, University of Bucharest, Marius Oprea, PhD, Chairperson of the Department for Special Investigations, Institute for Investigating the Crimes of Communism and the Memory of the Romanian Exile, Alexandru Pecican, theatre and film director, Ovidiu Pecican, PhD, professor, European Studies Faculty, Baves-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, member of the National Council of the Romanian Union of Writers, Emanuel Petac, PhD, Senior reseacher, Library of the Romanian Academy, Numismatic Department, Zoe Petre, PhD, professor emeritus of Ancient History, University of Bucharest, Zeno Karl Pinter, PhD, Correspondent Member, Deutsches Archaeologisches Instituts (DAI), President of the National Romanian Comission for Archaeology, Cristian Pîrvulescu, PhD, professor, National School of Political and Administrative Sciences, President Pro Democratia, Ioan-Aurel Pop, PhD, Member of the Romanian Academy, Rector of the Babes Bolyai University. Cluj – Napoca, Grigore Popescu Arbore, Ph. D., Chief Technology Officer, The National Research Council / CNR, Institute of Marinne Sciences / ISMAR, Venice – Italy, Simona Popescu, PhD, writer, assistant professor, Department of Letters, University of Bucharest, Iulia Popovici, independent literary critic, Mihai Retegan, PhD, DHC Ovidius University, Constanta, professor, Department of Romanian History, University of Bucharest, Zoltan Rostas, PhD, professor, Univeristy of Bucharest, Michael Shafir, PhD, professor emeritus, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, Cezar Sigmirean, PhD, University "Petru Maior", Targu-Mures, Elena Șaulea, PhD, associate professor, National University of Theatral and Cinematographical Art, Bucharest, Ovidiu Simonca, journalist, deputy editor in chief, “Observator cultural”, Monica Spiridon, PhD, habilit. , prof. univ., University of Bucharest, Member of Academia Europea, Vicepresident of the International Comparative Literature Association (ICLA), Chair to the Experts Panel of Literature, European Science Foundation ( Program ERIH), Member of The European Pool of Reviewers, Evaluator of the European Research Council (" Bringing Great Ideas to Life", Panel SH5), Filip Stanciu, PhD, Rector, “Lumina” University, Bucharest, Cornel Apostol Stanescu, former General Director for Higher Education and Academic Research, Ministry of Education, Constantin Stoenescu, PhD, professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Bucharest.
Liviu Ioan Stoiciu, writer, publicist, Alexandru Suceveanu, PhD, emeritus vice-director, Romanian Academy Inastitute of Archaeology “Vasile Parvan”, Bucharest, Stelian Tanase, PhD, professor of Political Science, University of Bucharest, writer, Antoaneta Tanasescu, PhD, professor, Department of Letters, University of Bucharest, Nicolae Serban Tanaşoca, PhD, professor, National University of Art, Bucharest, Director of the Institutute for South-East European Studies, Romanian Academy, Lucian Dan Teodorovici, writer, Zoltan Tibori Szabo, PhD, senior researcher, associate professor, Department of Political Science, Administration and Communcation, “Babes-Bolyai” University, Cluj-Napoca, Nicolae Toboşaru, PhD, associate professor, University of Oradea, director, profesor asociat la Universitatea din Oradea,Graduate Studies in European Security, Florin Turcanu, PhD, professor of Political Science, University of Bucharest, Silviu Vacaru, PhD, researcher, Romanian Academy, Institute of History "A.D. Xenopol", Iasi, Alexa Visarion, PhD, theatre director, Viorel Vizureanu, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Bucharest, Laurentiu Vlad, PhD, professor, Department of Political Sciences, University of Bucharest, Felicia Waldman, PhD, assistant professor, University of Bucharest, Daniela Zaharia, PhD, assistant professor Department of Ancient History, Archaeology and History of Art, University of Bucharest.
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