Romania, more attractive, including for substantial investments, if efficient in the fight against corruption

Romania’s Justice Minister Robert Cazanciuc said that Romania will become more attractive, including for substantial investments if it proves efficient in the fight against corruption, and the country will thus have a direct contribution to its economic progress and the progress of the European Union.

‘Within the limits of its legal powers, the Justice Ministry will provide the necessary expertise and support to secure the resources needed for the functioning of justice as a public service. We will continue to secure stability and predictability for the legislative and institutional framework, so that the track record of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) and other institutions against corruption may be kept at high performance levels. I am convinced that the future independent reports under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), the UN, the GRECO and Moneyval will reflect this reality. All these demarches are first of all made for the Romanian citizens, for the confidence they should place in justice. If Romania is efficient in its fight against corruption, it will be more attractive, including for substantial investments in the Romanian economy, with direct contribution to the economic progress of itself and the European Union,’ Cazanciuc told the opening conference of a project for the promotion of the exchange of good practices in the detection, investigation and penalisation of corruption in the EU.

He said that as far as the fight against corruption is concerned, things are clear because Romania has the instruments, know-how and a portfolio of charges and final and binding sentences to prove it is doing its job.

‘To all those wondering about what should follow, the message is clear: we have the leading team of the prosecutorial offices, among which priorities is the fight against high-level corruption and serious crime. In my capacity as the justice minister, I will join the team to make sure together that the measures adopted over the past years are on an irreversible track. This is in fact the commitment we all took under the National Anti-Corruption Strategy,’ said Cazanciuc.

He also mentioned Romania’s interest in the joint European agenda, including the consolidation of Eurojust and the creation of a European prosecution service.

‘Turning into reality the institution of European prosecutor can mean a new stage in the construction of the common freedom, security and justice space in the EU. Romania has actively supported the need for adopting a joint set of minimal standards to harmonise the legislation of the member states against crimes that regard the financial interests of the European Union. The proposal for a directive that is at the final stage of negotiations, meets the seriousness displayed by the Romanian structures in tackling this crime phenomenon and the interest we have in facilitating cooperation when such cases are trans-frontier in nature,’ said Cazanciuc.

He mentioned that another area of interest to which equal importance is being attached is a new draft directive for the apprehension and confiscation of crime proceeds.

‘Romania is advocating the adoption of this instrument, which will lay the foundations for more efficient cooperation among our countries in identifying and retrieving crime liabilities. The European Commission is putting the crime costs at some hundreds of billions of euros. We have to return this money for social programmes and efforts to prevent crime. I use this opportunity to underscore the importance of the extended power of confiscation that was enshrined last year in Romania’s new Criminal Code. At the end of persistent demands, especially on the Public Prosecution Service and also on judges, here we are with this instrument at the disposal of practitioners,’ he said.

The minister added that inter-agency cooperation internationally for the retrieval of the liabilities is a crucial element, saying that the Justice Ministry has been playing a pivotal part in this matter as a National Office for the Prevention of Crime and Cooperation in Retrieving Crime Assets has been operating for two years.

‘Our structure of a multidisciplinary type has managed in a short time since its inception to win the trust of the DNA and the DIICOT national agencies, while also establishing direct and efficient cooperation with the other 26 similar structures at the EU level as well as with similar agencies in the member states of the UN Convention against corruption,’ said Cazanciuc.

He mentioned that as a founding member, Romania is a constant supporter of the International Anti-Corruption Academy and it is also aware of the fact that it is very important for an academic forum for debates to exist at a regional and international level to better grasp corruption and find the most efficient instruments to tackle it.

In concluding, the minister underscored the firm commitment of the Romanian Government to cooperating in identifying and retrieving the proceeds crime, because crime should not pay.

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