By Corina Rebegea|Washington D.C.
The European Union’s Eastern Partnership Program (EaP) has just turned 10. There were celebrations, but also less congratulatory assessments of how far the six countries have actually gone in their democratic and economic development as a result of this framework. According to the less optimistic evaluations of the EaP’s success, the mechanisms and leverage employed by the EU are insufficient or inadequate to sustain long-lasting reforms, in particular when it comes to the important areas of rule of law and anticorruption agenda. This has caused many analysts to question the true impact of the EU’s involvement in domestic reform processes.
By Sidonia Bogdan | Bucharest
Anti-graft efforts are a must for all EU states and Romania has achieved remarkable progress in its fight against this scourge. Nonetheless, it has been a bumpy ride and Romania can become a textbook example of how hard it can be to implement such a strategy at state level. Strengthening institutions, steadily promoting uncompromised magistrates in key positions, fighting back against political pressure on the judiciary and a keen eye for always respecting human rights are vital elements for the health of this process.
Since the early 2000s, the influential heads of the Romanian executive have attempted to amass more power. Former PM Năstase (2001-04), former President Băsescu (2005-14, especially in partnership with PM Boc, in 2009-11)
and former PM Ponta (2012-15) sought to either bypass the legislature, or to subordinate the judiciary. By trial and error a strategy emerged, to the apparent benefit of the ruling Social-Democrats’ current chairman Liviu Dragnea (since 2015).