Iulian Ernst in Bucharest -
A leaked report from the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) says that top civil servants belong to - and in some cases lead - criminal groups. The high level of domestic corruption and the external threat of Russia’s increasingly aggressive stance are identified as the main developments in 2014 affecting security in Romania.
The report on the security climate in 2014 says that organised criminal groups have “succeeded to penetrate public bodies at high levels”. Corruption has affected practically all strategic sectors in Romania, but it has had a particularly strong impact in the public administration.
Civil servants including high-level officials have been identified as members or even coordinators of some organised crime networks, the report reads. The decision-making process has been subordinated to private interests, impairing the government’s capacity to deliver public services. The report claims that abusive and illegal activities by decision-makers at local level have been magnified by their links with members of criminal groups.
It is unclear from the report whether the intensity of corruption is gaining ground or diminishing. Most of the other security risks - including under-financing of the public sector, lack of human resources, weak EU funds absorption - are mentioned as ongoing issues, presumably at constant levels.
Judicial activity continues to be “hijacked” by interest groups, the report says. It cites interference by interest groups who influence actors including magistrates, police officers, lawyers and public notaries. Members of organised criminal groups have managed to develop instruments for intervening at various levels of the judicial system with the purpose of influencing the criminal justice process in line with their interests.
The report is mainly focused on the internal security situation, though it also reports that Russia’s efforts to consolidate its authority in Europe’s eastern neighbourhood and to challenge the euro-Atlantic influence in the region have amplified the climate of instability and lack of security at the political, economic and military levels.
The report was submitted to the Romanian parliament in July and will be debated by the two chambers in October.
Its leak to Antena3 - the TV station controlled by controversial businessman Dan Voiculescu who is currently in jail for financial fraud - has caused concern since the document has not yet been made publicly available either by the parliament or the SRI.
SRI has contributed actively, in recent years, to the investigations of the National Anticorruption Directorate, which has launched significant corruption cases at high-ranking targets, involving top politicians.
Former SRI director George Maior resigned in January 2015 and was replaced in March by Eduard Hellvig. Maior is currently Romania’s ambassador to the US.
In January this year, before Maior’s resignation, SRI supported three controversial bills with an impact on national security that were eventually deemed to be unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court.
Constitutional Court president Augustin Zegrean claimed that members of the court had been subject to pressure to clear the three laws – regarding pre-pay mobile telephony subscriptions, a law on cyber-security and a law stipulating that telephony and internet service providers should keep track of customers’ activity for latest six months.
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