March 29, 2019 / 11:49 AM / a year ago

EU Commission: Romania backsliding on rule of law

European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas attends a press conference at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission criticized Romania on Friday for backsliding on the rule of law and called on Bucharest to treat fairly Laura Kovesi, a candidate to become the bloc’s first-ever chief prosecutor.

Romania on Thursday indicted Kovesi on corruption charges, prohibiting from traveling abroad, according to Romanian media reports. Romania now holds the rotating EU presidency.

“It is crucial that all candidates put forward by an independent selection panel are treated fairly in the course of this process,” Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a regular news briefing.

“We call on the Romanian government and on the Romanian authorities to fully respect the principle of sincere cooperation as enshrined in the treaty regarding the selection procedure of the European chief prosecutor,” he said.

“All candidates need to be able to participate in all steps of the selection procedure, unhindered,” he said.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski

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