Page last updated at 14:35 GMT, Wednesday, 12 September 2012 15:35 UK

Debate on Romania

The leader of the European Parliament's socialist group, Hannes Swoboda, has accused the European Commission of "lacking objectivity" during an angry debate on 12 September 2012 on the ongoing political deadlock in Romania.

A July referendum on the impeachment of the country's president, Traian Basescu, was deemed invalid by the country's top court, as turnout did not reach the required 50% plus one threshold.

More than 87% voted for impeachment - but only 46% of registered voters took part.

It means Mr Basescu, who was suspended from his post pending the referendum, can now return to the presidency.

The impeachment calls were launched by the president's political rival, the prime minister Victor Ponta.

Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said she hoped the court judgment would lead to the "normalisation" of political life in Romania.

She was critical of prime minister Ponta, saying that Romanians deserved "politics based on policies, not personalities".

Mr Basescu is from the centre-right EPP group, whereas Mr Ponta heads a socialist-liberal coalition, and the debate in the European parliament was broadly split down political lines.

German EPP MEP Manfred Weber said prime minister Ponta had acted in an "undignified and undemocratic" way and accused him of carrying out "unconstitutional" legislation.

However Mr Swoboda accused critics of Mr Ponta of undertaking a "propaganda war", accusing the Commission of failing to deal with allegations of political impropriety against Mr Basescu.

He was backed up by British Liberal Sir Graham Watson, who said the EPP group had "no sense of shame", by supporting the president, whose daughter is a member of the European Parliament.

"The best thing for Romania now would be new elections - both parliamentary and presidential," he concluded.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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