January 24, 2018 / 11:40 AM / in 7 months

European Union warns Romania over judicial reforms, corruption

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union on Wednesday urged the Romanian parliament to reconsider recent judicial reforms, which critics say weaken judicial independence.

FILE PHOTO: European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Some 50,000 people protested in Bucharest over the weekend against the overhaul of the courts and corruption, which has long afflicted Romania’s politics and weakened it in the EU.

“The independence of Romania’s judicial system and its capacity to fight corruption effectively are essential cornerstones of a strong Romania in the European Union,” the European Commission said in a statement.

“The Commission again warns against backtracking and will look thoroughly at the final amendments to the justice law, the criminal codes and laws on conflict of interest and corruption.”

The statement by the commission, the EU’s executive arm, comes as it confronts another ex-communist EU state, Poland, whose nationalist government stands accused of weakening the courts’ independence and backpedalling on democratic standards.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, editing by Larry King

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