People Power Reminds the Government of the Rule of Law


Nicholas S. Hammond

About Nicholas S. Hammond

Nicholas Hammond was the first English solicitor to open an office in Romania in 1990. He had started his career in the City of London in the 1970. His practise covers all aspects of corporate and commercial law including company formations and corporate restructuring, joint ventures and inward investment. He has advised clients in such varied fields as aviation, insurance, banking, retail,agriculture, project finance as well as venture capital investments, real estate matters as well as leasing and Romanian intellectual property matters.

When I first came to Romania in 1990, the revolution had just finished. Ceausescu was dead and the political classes were forming into parties. That was 27 years ago. Even in 1990, people were on the streets, elated by what had been achieved. The then Government party was the party which eventually morphed into the Social Democratic Party (PSD).

Fast forward to 2017. What we have now, is a PSD government because they won the elections in 2016, without many  any complaints of manipulations — rather, apathy gave them the majority party in parliament. However, in recent days, this government has acted in an extremely dismissive manner towards the people of Romania. It has tried to pass laws which benefit those in jail and who have supported the PSD financially, over the last few years.

I have sat watching the TV these last few days and have even been to the demonstration to see what was really happening. It has been very exciting to see what might develop and you could feel that change was in the air. The atmosphere at the demonstration was incredibly calm; no violence, no anger. Admittedly there was one night when several supporters of the local football clubs decided to join in and attack the gendarmes. The gendarmes were prepared for that and it was the only night when the riot police were present, in front of the government building. The gendarmes knew what was coming. Since then, there has just been the normal gendarme presence outside the government building at night. Last night there were six.

As I have said, it is exciting and interesting to be in Romania and, particularly, in Bucharest now. There has certainly been a feeling of anticipation in the air. The actions of the Government that triggered the demonstrations we ill-thought out and had an air of Stalinist communism. However, unlike the times of Stalin no police broke up the demonstration and I am sure that the pressure of the people on the streets in Bucharest, and other towns, together with pressure from the EU brought about the withdrawal of the ordinances which had originally caused the problems.

Was the Government right to pass the ordinances in the way that it did? Probably not, because those ordinances were not in the manifesto on which the PSD was elected. Should criminal law be amended? No law is perfect and maybe there are areas which require clarification and that could be improved. This should have been discussed, rather than actioned the way that it was done. Maybe a better law would have resulted, especially as the government has now said it will discuss the law.

Romanian protesting against the new more permissive laws for corruption (source: BigStock)

If they try and push through an ordinance again as they did here, I think the people will become very angry. This risk exists as the Government and its allies have more than 51 per cent of the parliamentary seats. Do the people want to change the governing party?  There is no complaint as the PSD won fairly in 2016, but those who are complaining now should perhaps have voted in December 2016, but they did not. Many people support the social programme of the PSD, even though no-one is sure how it will be paid for, but there is certainly an air of ‘give the government a chance’.

Most anger is directed at the leader of the PSD who has claimed to have no control over the Government although nobody believes him. The mood in the street and which is one I agree with is to change the leadership of the Governing party and bring in new “clean” leaders who will be welcome in the capitals of Europe. Reorganise the Government with ministers with experience and then allow them to govern according to the mandate upon which they were elected.

As events continue to unfold it will certainly be interesting times.


The Competitive Edge in Central and Eastern Europe

SOFIA BULGARIA - MAY 5: View of the Ivan Vazov National Theatre in Sofia on May 5 2016. Sofia is the largest city and capital of Bulgaria.

A Bosnian Referendum Shows Russia’s Influence in the Balkans—As Well As Its Limits

Polish Tax Laws — Fighting a Winning Battle Against Tax Evaders

China: A Giant That Is Hard to Crack

Measuring Growth of Societies with GDP Alone Shows an Incomplete Picture

Poland’s Unicorn, Slovakia’s Flying Car and the Future of Europe

Outsourcing in Germany: Stop Talking at and Start Talking to

January Kicks Off an Exciting Year for Emerging Europe

Europe at Odds over OPAL and Nord Stream 2

A New Division Between Eastern And Western Europe?

Are Labour Shortages Driving Economic Growth?

The Long Tail of Global Expansion

The Sharing Economy Could Bring New Business Models to CEE

Resignation in Ukraine: War, Revolution, Crisis — Some Things Never Change

Czech Republic Renaming Has Real Economic Costs

Falling into Old Ways in 2017? Ukraine’s Struggle for Functioning Economic Institutions

Breaking With Imitations of the Past

The Global Outsourcing Industry — the Rise of the Phoenix

CEE — Do We Need a Launch Pad For Our On-Site Tech Intelligence in the Silicon Valley

Global Expansion in the Digital Age

Fiscal Policy Predictability in CEE — It’s Time for Change

Business Moving Forward with Cautious Optimism — Can Investors Win the Confidence Game?

Big Fish, Small Fish, Where to Fish? On the Eve of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Poland’s Confusing GDP Growth

Romania Surviving the Waves of Recent Political Tsunamis in Europe

Europe Needs To Be More Proactive In Embracing Armenia

Poland: Is it Ready, and is it Time to Adopt the Euro?

Brexit: Let’s Learn the Lesson and Hope a Better Europe Will Arise

Will the New Five-day Visa-free Regime Encourage More Visitors to Belarus?

Examining How a Strong Swiss Franc Could Single-Handedly Topple Poland’s Economy

Central and Eastern European Consumers Are Joining the Global Trends for Change

Where’s My Cheese? – The GREAT British Food Tour 2014

Cheese Shop

International Women’s Day — Let’s Take Action And Then Celebrate

Will a Two-speed European Union Side-line the Visegrad Four?

A Positive and Modern View of Entrepreneurship

The EU’s Choice: Fundamental Reform Or Disintegration

The EU’s Benign Neglect Of Eastern Europe

How Will Poland Approach the Brexit Negotiations?

Prepare for a New Europe

European Volatility Makes Economic Development Slower for Ukraine

Finalising the DCFTA is Expected to Bring Multiple Benefits to Ukraine

Belarus 2020: Turning the Vicious Circle Into an Upward Spiral

LGBT in CEE — A New Acceptance Is Being Born From Migration

Ukraine’s Reputation for Cheap Labour May Not Ring True in the Long-term

The CEE Region Is Making Advances in Prioritising Waste-to-Energy Projects

The Voice of European Business Must Be Heard Loud and Clear by Brexit Negotiators

Changing Perspectives and Showing That True Romania is a Vibrant Innovative Country

The Capital Markets Union: a New Beginning in the European Financial Sector?

Let’s Stop Wasting Time Redefining our Place in Europe

The Morawiecki Plan Promises a Brighter Future for Poland

United or Divided? Europe in the Face of the Challenges of Tomorrow

Not All Quiet on the Eastern Front

After 25 Years of Restructuring, the Romanian Power Sector Is at a Crossroad

Could the West At Least Help Ukraine To Insure FDI Against Political Risks?

The Netherlands’ Objection to the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement could be Costly to Europe

Old Fashioned Skulduggery Overshadows the Elections in Moldova

The Right to Water: Who Can Change Today’s Situation?

History as Destiny? Institutional Erosion in Ukraine and Poland

Are There Differences Between How Tax Regulations in Poland and IAS Treat Intangible Assets?

The GREAT London Food Scene

Bakery in London

We, the Post-Communist Generation, Have the Skills to Rid of the Past And Create Our Own Future

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *