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Romanian Premier Says He Maintains Decision To Resign

Popescu-Tariceanu 13 July 2005 -- Romania's Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu today said he is standing by his decision to resign after lawmakers proved unable to reach a compromise to push through essential justice reforms.

The crisis began last week, when the country's constitutional court blocked a law on justice reforms which are required by the European Union, which Romania wants to join in 2007.

The court, which is packed with judges with a communist background and judges appointed by the former ex-communist government, struck down passages in the law which called for competition for judicial positions instead of political appointments and setting a mandatory retirement age for judges.

Lawmakers voted Wednesday to reword the legislation, but Popescu-Tariceanu said he was unhappy with the changes because they make the law less effective.

The EU has warned Romania that it must reform its inefficient justice system and enforce antitrust rules or face a one-year delay.