Jean-Claude Juncker fired heavy weapons on the Romanian government, questioning his ability to exercise his first six-month rotating presidency of the European Union since the country's accession in 2007. "The Bucharest government has not yet fully understood what it means to preside over the EU countries", swayed the president of the European Commission in an interview with the conservative German daily Die Welt of 29 December.

Breakage of uses

"To act, you have to be willing to listen to others and the willingness to put your own concerns in the background. I have some doubts about this, " he continued, emphasizing in passing the deep division existing at the top of the state between the President of the Republic and the social democratic government in full authoritarian drift. A real break in diplomatic practices. Never before had a President of the Commission sealed a presidency of the Union even before it began. Juncker's harshness towards Virica Dancila's government is not surprising when one thinks of the indulgence he has long shown vis-à-vis Viktor Orbán's Hungary or the understanding he continues to protest against the alliance between the Austrian conservatives of the ÖVP and the far right of the FPÖ.

Read alsoAgainst justice, Romania chooses impunity

The sensitivity of the Commission President, a Luxembourg social-Christian, to the respect of European values, is in fact indexed to the government's belonging to the large family of the European People's Party (EPP), the European conservatives. It is no coincidence that Poland, led by the Law and Justice Party, which is not a member of the EPP, is for the moment the only EU Member State to be prosecuted on the basis of the Article 7 of the European Treaty, which provides for penalties if there is "A clear risk of a serious breach by a Member State of the values" of the Union. That is why Fidesz d'Orbán, the Austrian ÖVP or Gerb of the Bulgarian Boyko Borissov, all members of the EPP, enjoy wide latitude in questioning democracy.

Thorn of the foot

This was also the case of the parties belonging to the socialist family, which is allied with the EPP in the Commission and the European Parliament. The Romanian "social-democratic" government has long thought itself sheltered, Orbán's impunity guaranteeing his own. But in September 2018, a part of the Conservative MEPs, in order to remove a thorn from the German Manfred Weber, president of the EPP group of the Parliament who wishes to preside the next Commission, did not hesitate to let go Orbán in voting in favor of a resolution recommending the Commission to prosecute Hungary just as it did for Poland. Since then, Jean-Claude Juncker has constantly criticized openly the authoritarianism of the Hungarian Prime Minister, but taking care not to activate the famous article 7 …

Taken against the background, the Socialist Group in Parliament had little choice but to start letting go of its Romanian protege. At the beginning of October, he stepped up to condemn the questioning of the independence of justice by the Dancila government. The famous Article 7 is not yet invoked, but at least Parliament recognizes that there is a problem in this country. Remains that with the Romanian presidency, the subject will stay in the fridge until July. And Bucharest hopes that after the European elections in May, it will definitely be buried: indeed, the results do not look bright for the EPP and the Socialists and it is very likely that the two political families will agree to do not weaken further by depriving yourself of the Hungarian and Romanian contingents …

Jean Quatremer BRUSSELS (UE), from our correspondent

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