The E-Mail came on the 22nd. December, at 13 o’clock, the policy of Brussels was already in the Christmas holiday. Probably why someone took hardly any notice of it, that Jens Geier, head of the German social Democrats in the European Parliament, wanted a short time before the Feast, sprinkle a little salt in a wound of the Christian Democrats.

For some time already, the social Democrats observed “with grave concern” the political developments in Hungary, wrote vulture in an open letter to Manfred Weber (CSU), head of the Faction of European people’s party (EPP).

in view of the erosion of democracy and the rule of law in the “pressing question”, when the Fidesz party of Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban out of the EPP family of parties will be thrown. He would be happy about a feedback, wrote vulture.

The Signal to Weber, the EPP top candidate for the European elections in may, is clear: Hungary election issue. The reason is obvious, because the issue splits the EPP. In the case of a vote in the European Parliament, Weber was left even by his own CSU party friends in the lurch. However, the strategy could be for the social Democrats to the non-starter – as in Slovakia and Romania are party friends in Power, whose policy is highly reminiscent of Orbán’s activities.

in Romania, the EU-presidency – right now

In November, the EU-Commission, Romania attested to the severity of a legal state and democracy deficiencies. The European Parliament adopted a Resolution against Bucharest; some members are already calling for the initiation of an article 7-criminal procedure.

Against Poland is already running such a procedure, which can in extreme cases lead to the withdrawal of the voting rights in the EU. In September, the EU Parliament voted for the opening of an article 7 procedure against Hungary.

In both of these countries, criticism of the dismantling of democracy in the East, the EU focused. Romania and Slovakia have avoided, however, sent to draw the wrath of Brussels. This is likely to be, at least for Romania, is now over.

Since the beginning of the year the country holds the six-monthly rotating presidency of the EU, and is reinforced in the focus. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, for example, has recently questioned publicly whether Romania is up to the task.

EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and Romania’s Minister-President Viorica Dancila

And all this just now, where in may the European elections take place – for Europe’s social Democrats is not a pleasant Situation. “Romania has now the presidency, because you have to look especially sharp,” says the CDU MEP Elmar Brok. In the parliamentary vote on the procedure against Hungary two-thirds of the EPP would have made the members against Orbán. “A similar effort, I fully expect the social Democrats,” says Brok.

“A monstrous task”

The problem child, Liviu Dragnea. The head of the social democratic PSD, although he is not a government office, holding, as a strong man in Romania. Since the end of 2016, his party is in government together with the liberals, and since then, has not developed the political culture in the country for the Better.

a Particularly controversial is a mitigation of the criminal law, the corruption of the suspect politicians, to the benefit of and thus Dragnea. Just two weeks before the adoption of the law, a court had sentenced him in the first instance for abuse of office to three and a half years in prison. “The party Chairman is convicted for corruption, and that’s why laws should be changed,” says the CDU-man Brok. “This is an outrageous procedure.”

More on this topic MIRROR+ AFP/ Romania’s EU presidency, The Regime of the Convicted

Dragnea argues, however, that in Romania, a kind of illegitimate parallel state was established, the attempts to snatch the elected government to Power. Thus, the party chief justifies large-scale reforms in the judiciary and in the criminal legislation. But more the rule of law is only ostensibly.

in fact, have been adopted since the beginning of 2017, hundreds of new provisions, which have eased the previously stringent Anti-corruption legislation and the government greater influence over the judiciary. Although the constitutional court declared many of the new regulations to be unlawful, but the social-liberal coalition can always be new changes in the law come to mind.

of Romania’s secret service swamp

the main players in the alleged parallel state, according to Dragnea, the intelligence services. In particular, the domestic intelligence service SRI control important institutions and authorities; investigators, prosecutors and judges attempted with the pretext of the fight against corruption, political opponents cold.

in fact, the SRI listened to the Elite from the world of politics and the economy in the order of the Anti-corruption authority for many years, virtually across the Board; until the beginning of 2016, the constitutional court declared the controversial practice illegal. In the spring of 2018 came out that the SRI with dozens of institutions had completed from the state administration and judiciary secret cooperation protocols, which gave him insight into their work and even participation rights.

For the problems in the Romanian intelligence service complex, the PSD to a large extent, is partly responsible, since after the fall of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989 as a successor party to the Communists, the transformation of the Securitate organized. The current chief of the SRI and the foreign country, YOU apply to the secret service, but as a Familiar of the German President Klaus Johannis has to be an ex – officio independent origin, but the Christian Democrats are close to.

Romania’s President Klaus Johannis

“The EPP has in this topic, therefore, a certain degree of inhibition against biting,” said SPD politician vultures. While it would be a “natural reaction” of the EPP, to show in the election campaign, with the Finger of Romania’s PSD. “I look forward to the left,” says Geier. Anyway, the operations in Orbán’s Hungary of a “different caliber” than those in Romania.

conversations, warnings, red lines – but there are no consequences

However, Geier concedes that the social Democrats in the EU Parliament, to look with concern to Bucharest. Recently traveled vulture with the SPD-Bundestag Axel Schaefer talks in the Romanian capital.

At the Meeting with Dragnea and Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, you’ve addressed the problems with the rule of law, “significantly”, says Geier. “We have told the truth, as friends should be.” You’ll observe the Situation, “more”.

That, in turn, corresponds almost exactly to the attitude of Weber to Orbán’s Fidesz. And then, the Brussels liberals, whose party form a coalition with friends in Bucharest with Dragneas PSD.

head of the Brussels liberals, Guy Verhofstadt

The Romanian government must adhere to the rule of law, wrote, Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the liberals in the EU Parliament, on Facebook. His Romanian party of friends should do that, they would have a place in the liberal Alde political family. “If not, then not.”

It was a thinly-veiled threat of expulsion. But such warnings also has the EPP been to Orbán. Happened so far, nothing.

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.