Romania. The charges against the government on corruption
grew during the year. In February, a former minister was
sentenced to prison, in March a politician was convicted of
extortion, and the finance minister resigned since
prosecutors launched a large-scale bribery investigation.
COUNTRYAAH, Romania's richest man was sentenced to prison for bribery
that would have gone to the Social Democrats. In May, the
regional minister resigned because of a prison sentence for
In June, information about suspicions against Prime
Minister Victor Ponta came up in an investigation that
included money laundering and tax crimes before his time in
government. President Klaus Iohannis urged Ponta to resign,
but he remained and survived the parliamentary vote of no
In July, Ponta was charged with suspicion of tax
violations and money laundering. In September, it was
announced that prosecution would be brought against Ponta,
but he clung to power, even though he left the leadership of
his Social Democratic party.
A fire in a Bucharest nightclub in November killed around
60 people, most of them young. About 150 people were
injured. Pyrotechnics were used at a concert, and the venue
had no security check. Protesters in the tens of thousands
demanded the resignation of the government, as corruption
and neglect were believed to have led to the accident. Ponta
could no longer resist the pressure but filed his and the
government's farewell application.
The President appointed former European Commissioner
Dacian Cioloş as a new governor. He was commissioned to form
an expert and technocrat government with broad support and
mandate to lead the country for one year until the 2016
elections. The Cioloş government, which was approved in
Parliament with 389 votes against 115, had civil society
among the ministers. An economist at the European Commission
was appointed finance minister, and an expert on combating
corruption became Minister of Justice.
The corruption trial against Ponta began in parallel with
the new government making the fight against corruption a
priority. Economically, the state's finances were in
relatively good condition after several years of painful
remediation, and economic growth was considered stable.
During the year, a historic verdict fell when former
prison camp chief Alexandru Vişinescu was sentenced to 20
years in prison. The 89-year-old Vişinescu was charged with
inhuman treatment of prisoners between 1956 and 1963, when
he was the head of a prison in eastern Romania where
political prisoners were tortured and some were also killed.
It was the first verdict against anyone responsible for the
communist dictatorship's legal system.
Another former prison camp chief was awaiting trial, and
several similar charges were planned. About half a million
people were held as political prisoners in Romania during
the 1950s and 1960s.
Former President Ion Iliescu was also indicted during the
year on charges of crimes against humanity, after the
Supreme Court, after criticizing the European Court, resumed
pending charges against him. Iliescu was accused of killing
several people and injuring hundreds when police and exiled
miners attacked protesters in Bucharest in 1990.
Romania and Sweden signed a cooperation agreement in July
to improve the living conditions of Romania's poorest
groups, especially the Roma who, in growing numbers, came to
Sweden to beg. Sweden will, among other things, contribute
with expertise in social issues.