Western states concerned over Romanian government decree

A woman holds a sign reading "Cowards" during a protest after the Romanian government decriminalized some graft offenses late on Tuesday in Bucharest, Romania, January 31, 2017. Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea via REUTERS

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Six western states expressed deep concerns on Wednesday over the Romanian government’s decree to decriminalize some anti-graft offenses, saying they could undermine the European Union state’s anti-corruption progress and put its international partnerships at risk.

The embassies of Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States expressed deep concerns in a joint statement “over the government’s actions ... which have undermined Romania’s progress over the last ten years with the rule of law and the fight against corruption.”

“This decree ... can only undermine Romania’s reputation in the international community and risks affecting partnerships based on common values, inherent to the guiding principles of the EU and NATO.”

Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Radu Marinas