Romanian president warns of high-level corruption

Friday, January 21, 2005

The Romanian President, Traian Băsescu yesterday said that Romania is perceived as a "mafia country" and asked prosecutors to take immediate steps to eliminate the high-level corruption in the country.

Basescu told the prosecutors at the High Court of Cassation and Justice that they should resign if they can't do what it takes to ensure that Romania does not become a mafia-like country. Less urgent problems like prostitution will have to wait, he said.

Cases of high-level corruption, such as the Camaru brothers' bribing of police and politicians must be given top priority, the president claims.

Romania's new president, elected in December 2004, has pledged to cut down on corruption. He has appointed a new centrist government of young intellectuals, including a justice minister, Monica Macovei, who is not a member of any political party. In order for Romania to join the European Union in 2007, it has been told that it must work comprehensively to lower corruption, which is currently a major problem on the road to accession.