Following the actions undertaken by The Anti-Corruption General Directorate and by the National Anti-corruption Directorate in the Romanian customs, Transparency International Romania appraises these proceedings against corruption affecting one of the vulnerable areas most frequently mentioned in studies and evaluations concerning corruption in Romania. The Customs Division is an extremely vulnerable one, that contributes significantly to the "grey area" of corruption and that imposes great financial loses on the state budget. It maintains the permanent suspicion that Romania tolerates this type of practices and it also determines disbelief concerning Romania's access to common spaces, as in the recent example with the Schengen Area.
It is our belief that these actions are important in the long term fight against corruption, and also in the sense that they raise the state's institutions' credibility as long as they are continued and do not stand as exceptional acts. They should become a regular and normal practice for the institutions, meant to preserve the democratic actions, especially considering the fact that the possible embranchments in the case of systemic corruption ( as they have been signaled out by our organization on numerous occasions in reports and position papers) take time and consistency to be eradicated.
The investigation and settling of the corruption cases in the Romanian customs is a much awaited signal supporting the larger mission of confirming Romania in the position of a mature and reliable partner of the European Community, entitled to take full advantage of the benefits of provided by the European Community (assuming its obligations at the same time), including it joining the Schengen Area. These actions should also have an impact on the prevention measures, by discouraging actions of a penal nature. At the same time, they represent an opportunity to collect data concerning the operating modus in the customs and frontier security system. The analysis of this data should be made public and should lead to new public policies for the security of public integrity.
A coherent approach on corruption practices, for which we hope the customs episode is only the beginning of the fight with all corruption hot spots in the Romanian society, can guarantee not only Romania's credibility, but will also incontestably lead to the constant growth of the living conditions and of the population's level of trust in the state's institutions.
Transparency International Romania wishes these actions to be more than an image improvement exercise and to lead to a profound analysis on corruption as well as to a real reduction of corruption and fiscal evasion in Romania.
Moreover, TI- Romania expresses its hope that the file investigation will be performed in a transparent, consequent and efficient manner and we wish this beginning to be continued with concrete and sustained actions at an institutional and political level.
Contact person: Victor Alistar (victor . alistar @ transparency.org.ro)