Romania. At the New Year, Romania took over as President
of the EU Council of Ministers, at the same time shaken by
political strife and corruption. There was a dispute over
the judiciary's independent middle president and opposition
on the one hand and the Social Democratic PSD-led government
on the other. PSD leader Liviu Dragnea was convicted of
abuse of power and electoral fraud, and he ran a bill on
impunity and amnesty, including for such crimes he himself
When the country became EU president, protests against
Dragnea and the government were held with slogans like
"Leave!" and "We want Europe, not dictatorship!".
The acting head of the anti-corruption agency DNA
resigned in January, saying she was unable to do her job.
She had succeeded Laura Codruța Kövesi, who was dismissed by
the government after prosecuting several PSD politicians.
CountryAAH, the government decided by decree that anyone convicted of
corruption after 2014 can appeal against the Supreme Court's
decision. This included judgments against Dragnea and other
PDS politicians. The decision sparked popular anger with
protests in Bucharest and other cities.
By decree, the government was able to avoid the appeal
and trial in the Constitutional Court. The decree also
strengthened government control over judges, leading to
demonstrations by hundreds of judges outside courts. They
also quit the job in protest. President Klaus Iohannis
criticized the decree, and the European Commission expressed
Former Prime Minister Mihai Tudose, at the beginning of
the year, left PSD in protest of what he described as
Dragnea's kidnapping of the party for personal ambitions.
Tudose joined For Romania, formed by defectors from PSD.
Romania's conflict with the EU worsened when the
government launched a criminal investigation into two EU
commissioners for abuse of power and slander of Romania. It
was about the EU's criticism that the government weakened
the judiciary's ability to fight corruption.
The deposed head of the anti-corruption agency Kövesi was
questioned, accused of corruption and abuse of power. When
Kövesi simultaneously became a candidate for a new post as
chief prosecutor in the EU, the Romanian Minister of Justice
wrote to his EU colleagues and accused her of secret
cooperation with intelligence services.
The government took away certain powers from the state
prosecutor and other prosecutors, which among other things
increased the government's control over the investigation of
Kövesi. This led to protests from judges, prosecutors and
thousands of other Romanians. Prosecutors threatened with
strike, and the Justice Minister partially backed out the
However, Kövesi was placed under special legal control,
banned from speaking to the media and given a travel ban.
She appealed to the Supreme Court, which granted her the
right. The European Parliament supported Kövesi as the EU's
new chief prosecutor, the Romanian government protested, but
later in the year Kövesi was approved as head of the
prosecutor's cooperation, which is primarily to combat abuse
of EU grants.
The dissatisfaction with the corruption and the weak
economy caused many Romanians to emigrate. In three decades
since the fall of communism, Romania had lost 3.5 million
In March, President Iohannis sent the government's draft
budget back to Parliament, considering that it was based on
air figures and was based on a joy forecast for GDP growth,
with the EU instead forecasting 3.8%.
Several hundred kilos of cocaine were seized during the
spring in the Danube delta and on and on the Black Sea.
Romania is a transit country for cocaine from Latin America
to Western Europe. The drugs that were taken were estimated
to be worth several billion SEK.
Parliament voted in April for a shorter sentence and a
term for corruption, including PSD leader Dragnea's crimes.
The EU threatened Romania with sanctions, and the president
reported the legislative changes to the Constitutional
Court, which rejected them.
In the EU elections in May, the PSD stepped back and the
opposition stepped forward. In a parallel referendum that
the president proclaimed, just over 80% said no to the
government, through decrees, could impose impunity and
amnesty for corruption offenses, as well as other changes in
In May, the Supreme Court ruled on three-and-a-half years
in prison against PSD leader Dragnea for abuse of power.
With the country's most powerful politician in prison, the
opposition demanded the resignation of the government.
However, Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă remained and was
elected new leader of the PSD.
The government bowed to the referendum, withdrew the
disputed decrees on the judiciary, and now said it wanted to
prioritize health care, education and infrastructure.
The opposition still demanded mistrust in Parliament, but
the government won that vote.
The murder of a 15-year-old girl in July aroused strong
reactions and led to the departure of the chief of police
and the interior minister following a criticized police
operation. The Minister of Education also had to resign
since her statement could be interpreted as the girl having
to blame himself.
In August, the Liberal Conservative Party Alde left the
coalition with the PSD, which then lost the majority in
parliament. In October, since then, the government fell into
a vote of no confidence in Parliament.
National Liberal Party (PNL) leader Ludovic Orban was
appointed new prime minister and formed a minority
government, which was supported by four more parties in
parliament. In November, it was approved by 240 of 465
This allowed Romania to nominate a new candidate as
Romanian EU Commissioner. The candidate of the PSD
government had been rejected in the European Parliament due
to unclear economic dealings.
In the November presidential election, incumbent
President Klaus Iohannis won in the first round before the
resigned Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă, PSD. They both went
on to a second round, where Iohannis was re-elected with
superior numbers, 66% of the vote against just under 34% for