Date: 23 July 2019
Romania’s Kövesi One Step Away From Becoming EU Chief Prosecutor
From the very beginning, the former head of Romania’s anti-corruption agency, Laura Codruţa Kövesi has been the favourite in the race for the position of European Chief Prosecutor, which could simply be observed by the amount of support she received from EU officials, politicians as well as individual institutions. It turns out that France will also support the Romanian candidate, which, in practice, means that France’s own candidate will withdraw from the contest. This is the result of talks between Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and French President Emmanuel Macron. Now, the Romanian is just one step away from getting the position.
Initially, Andreas Ritter from Germany and Jean-Francois Bohnert from France submitted their candidatures for the position of EU Chief Prosecutor. Eventually, only the latter remained on the battlefield. Some time later, rumours of his resignation, which, in fact, were denied by Bohnert himself, began to appear. Ultimately, however, the information turned out to be true, meaning that the official announcement of his resignation may be expected at any moment.
Right from the beginning, Laura Codruţa Kövesi’s candidature has met with great enthusiasm – she immediately received support from, among others, the representatives of the European People’s Party – the largest party in the European Parliament (the party has even more seats in the EP after the latest elections). Now, Kövesi is to be supported by France. Such a decision was made during a telephone conversation between Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and French President Emmanuel Macron. It is not known yet what kinds of backstage arrangements were made, for example, it is not known what the Romanian president promised the French in exchange for backing up Kövesi’s candidature. Nonetheless, it seems that having received so much support should make the Romanian candidate unchallenged.
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From the start, Kövesi’s candidature did not please many politicians of the ruling PSD-ALDE coalition. At the end of March, the former Chief Prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (Romanian: Direcţia Naţională Anticorupţie, DNA for short) was accused of bribery, abuse of power and false testimony. For a time, she was even banned from speaking to the media and leaving the country. Since then, Kövesi has claimed that all of these attempts are to prevent her from applying for the position of EU Chief Prosecutor. Taking into account the fact that the leader of the co-ruling PSD party has been recently sentenced to prison, his party colleagues have decided to adopt a more conciliatory policy. This means that they will probably not interfere with the former DNA head’s candidature for the EU position. Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă briefly commented on the matter saying that she is waiting for the results of Kövesi’s investigation, which, in general, met with considerable criticism.
Laura Kövesi, born in 1973, was Romania’s Prosecutor General between 2006 and 2012. She gained public recognition after 2013 when she became the head of the DNA where she led the fight against corruption. During her term of office, many politicians were sentenced to prison for corruption. Only during the first few months of her work, she charged four ministers and ten mayors with corruption. In July 2018, she was removed from office at the initiative of Romania’s Justice Minister Tudorel Toader. Soon after that, it was revealed that the Romanian was going to submit her candidature for the position of EU Chief Prosecutor.
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