The Party of European Socialists (PES) has decided to freeze relations with Romania’s ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD), PES president Serghei Stanishev announced, according to a statement from the PES. In response, PSD called the decision “profoundly incorrect.”
The PES decision follows harsh criticism of the Romanian government by European politicians in the past two years for its attempts to change justice legislation.
Stanishev “informed the prime ministers, commissioners and party leaders that until the Romanian government clarified its commitment to the rule of law and followed the European Commission’s recommendations, the PES leadership will consider relations with the PSD frozen, pending a formal discussion at the next PES Presidency meeting in June, where PSD Romania’s membership of the PES will be discussed,” the PES statement noted.
In a statement, the PSD said it did not understand the reactions of some of their PES colleagues and that it seeks dialogue with PES members concerned about the rule of law in Romania. In addition, the PSD expressed its belief that the comments may be motivated by electoral issues rather than being a real concern and that the situation will change after the May European Parliament elections.
Romania’s PSD-led government has previously faced criticism from the country’s western partners. In a joint statement, the embassies of 12 states urged Romania on April 3 to avoid changes to justice laws that would weaken the rule of law and Romania’s anti-corruption fight.
However, the PSD statement expressed unhappiness at receiving a similar message from the PES, which brings together the socialist, social democratic, labour and democratic parties from all over the European Union and Norway, including the PSD.
“We have come to expect misunderstandings and accusations without evidence from PSD’s political opponents, but not from our own family,” the PSD said in a statement.
In a separate statement quoted by newswires in Romania, the PSD called PES’s stance “regrettable and profoundly incorrect.”
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