Last week Matthew suggested that the Romanian government’s fierce opposition to Ms. Laura Cordruta Kövesi’s candidacy to head the European Public Prosecutors’ Office is a good reason why she should be chosen. Ms. Kövesi led Romania’s anticorruption agency, the Direcţia Naţională Anticorupţie (DNA), until fired last July for what many observers believe was her refusal to back-off prosecuting senior members of the ruling party. That her own government, one of Europe’s more corrupt, so opposes her, Matthew argued, is a sign that it knows, and fears, how effective she would be as Europe’s chief prosecutor.
In today’s guest post, Alina Mungiu-Pippidi offers a different perspective – on why Ms. Kövesi is a candidate for the position and her government’s opposition to her selection and goes on to explain how the controversy arises from the European Union’s ham-handed intervention into Romanian politics, an intervention that has set back the country’s fight against corruption. Professor Mungiu-Pippidi spear-headed several widely-praised anticorruption movements in Romania before becoming director of the European Research Centre for Anticorruption and State-Building and Professor at Berlin’s Hertie School of Governance. She is the author most recently of The Quest for Good Governance: How Societies Build Control of Corruption. Cambridge University Press will soon release her Europe’s Burden: Promoting Good Governance across Borders.
The Western media obsessed over Laura Codruta’s Kövesi’s firing as chief of the Romanian anticorruption agency at the demand of the Romania’s Justice Minister. It is again obsessing about her now that she is the European Parliament’s candidate for the job of European Public Prosecutor (EPP). That institution was recently created at the instance of another Romanian, former Justice Minister Monica Macovei, currently an independent Member of European Parliament who, as Romanian Justice Minister, first appointed Ms. Kövesi. Having fired Ms. Kövesi, the Romanian government is now attacking her candidacy, publicizing allegations of misconduct while she ran the agency and calling for her to be questioned about them at precisely the time she is scheduled to appear before the European Parliament on her nomination.
Whether the European Union needs a new, union-wide public prosecution office is itself open to debate. Ms. Kövesi’s selection as one of three finalists to head the office is even more questionable. It appears to be Europe’s way of taking revenge on the Romanian government for firing her. Continue reading