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The recent derailments of two top officials of Romania's governing Social Democratic Party (PSD) inflict serious damage on German-Romanian relations and the lack of action by the Romanian government in this regard means it accepts them, says the chairman of the EU Affairs Committee in the German Bundestag, Gunther Krichbaum, in answers to HotNews.ro questions. He says he Romanian presidency of the EU Council next year seems to fail before it even starts and warns that German investors are deterred by developments in Romania.
HotNews.ro sought Krichbaum's opinion after Darius Valcov, a state counselor for the Romanian PM Viorica Dancila and considered the brains of the current government, posted a video on Facebook which depicted President Klaus Iohannis as Hitler. The clip was later deleted.
The incident came a week after former Education minister, current Senator Liviu Pop, also from the PSD, published on Facebook an image where Germany, the US and Austria were depicted as cockroaches coming towards Romania.
None of the two resigned or apologised for their outbursts, despite domestic and international outcry. The PM was yet to make herself heard on the issues on Wednesday.
According to the German official, "The recent derailments are the sad climax of a political dispute that has lost any sense of proportion. The named persons have become completely intolerable in their respective functions. It is noticeable that the intensity of the attacks continues to increase. In the meantime, red lines have been crossed several times, not least in form of the unacceptable criticism of the German Forum, which has been portrait as being in the tradition of National Socialism.
"It should be noted that the use of swastikas and other anti-constitutional symbols in Germany constitutes a criminal offense. At the same time, such behavior also bears witness to a shocking oblivion to history. Since the Romanian government has not clearly distanced itself from all of this, it seems reasonable to assume that it is deliberately accepting it, if not controlling it. As a result, it inflicts serious damage on the good German-Romanian relations, Krichbaum said.
Asked how he sees such behaviour as Romania prepares to take over the presidency of the EU Council, the German official said that "in addition to a serious burden of good German-Romanian relations, this leads to a further loss of international prestige of the government. Finally, due to the events surrounding the dismissal of Laura Kövesi and the fact that anti-corruption laws have been defused, Romania has come under increased scrutiny from the European Commission. Therefore, it is completely clear to me that the CVM (Cooperation and Verification Mechanism) cannot be ended. For the upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union, these are indeed not at all good signs. The Presidency seems to fail before it even starts."
Further asked about the impact that the changes to Romania's justice law and the violent stiffle of protests on August 10 might have on the Romanian EU Council presidency, he said:
"The upcoming Presidency is a huge opportunity for Romania if it is used wisely. Unfortunately, it does not look like that at the moment. In view of the many European problems, we would now need a widely respected Council Presidency. Also in another matter, the recent developments should not be underestimated: German investors are being deterred by all this. It is precisely the rule of law that gives cause for serious concern here. What gives me hope at the same time is the fact that large parts of the Romanian population are pro-European and demonstrate this publicly."