President Traian Basescu has criticised the Romanian government for supporting "interest groups", EurActiv Romania reports. In a recent speech, Basescu referred to the "economic favours" the government had been giving to different groups. Basescu called these "mafia groups", emphasising that it is time ministers and members of the government took responsibility for the laws they adopt. "Too many times the mafia has reached the government's table," he said.
"We have laws and we have to abide by them," Basescu said. He reiterated that he will always be against state institutions that interfere in the work of other institutions.
However, the director of Gardianul daily paper, Gabriel Stanescu, said that the terms used by the president are a little far fetched. Stanescu said that the president had referred to mafia groups; but that these do not use one of the most popular tools of the mafia, which is crime.
Meanwhile, other political leaders have accused Basescu of showing an "irresponsible attitude" by not being specific with his allegations.
Basescu also referred to the "terrifying battle" visible in the relations between several media institutions owned and orchestrated by members of illegitimate interest groups. "There are media trusts, owned by interest groups, which defend companies like Rafo or Rompetrol," said the president. The managements of both companies are currently on trial for fraud.
The head of the European Commission Delegation in Romania, Jonathan Scheele, praised the reforms and changes which were adopted in 2005, but said that the country is at a critical moment before the report in May. "There are still efforts to be made, so that Romanians live well before entering the European Union," the Bucharest Daily News quoted Scheele as saying.
The need to fight rampant corruption has repeatedly been mentioned by the Commission as a key requirement for Bucharest in its quest for EU membership.