The latest changes to Romanian judicial legislation is worrying Brussels. The European Commission on February 20 said it will ask Bucharest to explain a controversial new government emergency decree.

“The Commission is following with great concern the latest developments concerning the rule of law in Romania,” Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a news briefing.

“Both the content and the procedure of the latest changes using emergency ordinances without any consultation with the judiciary and stakeholders seem to be in direct contradiction with the recommendations of the Commission.”

Even Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis has criticised the new decree, warning the move would weaken prosecutors while tightening political control over the judiciary.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, this is the latest in a slew of legislative and personnel changes the governing Social Democrats have made in the past two years that the European Commission, the US State Department and thousands of Romanian magistrates say threaten the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.

“Romania needs very urgently to put the reform process back on track. This means going forward, not backwards, and abstaining from any steps that reverse the progress accomplished over past years,” Schinas said. “The Commission will seek clarification from the Romanian government on these latest changes.”