Romanian Minister of Justice Tudorel Toader has said that he will do all he can to block the appointment of a Romanian, Laura Codruța Kövesi (pictured above), as the European Union’s chief prosecutor.
“The European Union is clearly unaware of the abuses carried out by Ms Kövesi during her time as the head of the Romanian anti-corruption unit,” said Mr Toader. “I will be writing to all of the European ministers of justice to inform them as to why she was removed from office.”
During her spell as boss of the anti-corruption unit in Romania (the DNA) Ms Kövesi oversaw the successful prosecution of thousands of politicians and officials, including Liviu Dragnea, the country’s most powerful politician, which made her a target for the ruling PSD-ALDE coalition. She was fired on Mr Toader’s orders in July 2018, but has since sued the Romanian Ministry of Justice for wrongful dismissal. The case will be heard by the European Court for Human Rights later this year.
“Ms Kövesi was the most effective leader the DNA has ever had,” said Vlad Alexandrescu, a senator for the opposition Save Romania Union (USR). “During her time in office the DNA became a model in the fight against corruption, not just in Romania but in the whole of Europe. Her dismissal, which did not have the approval of the Council of Romanian Magistrates, had no basis in jurisprudence. The USR calls on the government, which likes to claim that it is patriotic, to support the candidacy of a fellow Romanian for this important European post.”
Ms Kövesi was named on February 4 as the preferred candidate for the EU prosecutor’s job, followed by Jean-Francois Bohnert of France and Andres Ritter, a German, on a short list of three. The final decision will be taken by the European Commission at the end of the month. The appointment must then be approved by the European parliament.