A new wave of protests against the policies of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) -led governing coalition took place across Romania on Saturday, as President Klaus Iohannis himself spoke against government decisions that risk "taking us out of Europe". The events intensified political tensions which reached new heights these days with a Foreign ministry decision to block a EU-wide foreign policy statement.
Some 7,000 people protested in Bucharest's Victoriei Square and hundreds of others in cities across the country against a series of moves by the governing coalition to undermine the fight against corruption.
Protesters in the capital city, Iasi, Timisoara, Cluj, Brasov, Targu Mures and others showed their support for the European Union and challenged governing coalition decisions to attack the activity of anti-graft prosecutors and to change the laws of the judiciary.
In Bucharest, protesters were surprised to find a massive European Union flag painted on the pavement, which appeared to be a project of the city hall.
President Klaus Iohannis sent a message to protesters, stating that he believed "people are in the street because they are discontent (...) Civic attitude is important because it brings these government people back to earth".
Also on Saturday, the president launched a harsh attack on the PSD-led government, saying that when it comes to foreign policy it governs in an amateurish way and risked taking Romania to the brink of Europe.
He said he would call the Foreign minister to explain a ministry decision made earlier, which affected the EU unity on a foreign policy statement. Normally, the President is the leading authority in Romania when it comes to foreign policy.
The Foreign ministry on Saturday confirmed earlier reports that Romania was one of the European countries which blocked EU plans to adopt a joint EU-level statement condemning the move of the US Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The Romanian ministry claimed the text was "lacking balance".
Romania is one of very few countries which raised the issue of moving its own Embassy to Israel to Jerusalem, a government initiative which sparked a huge clash with the president earlier this spring.
On Saturday, Iohannis said the latest move "was proof of how the PSD is governing very badly. They, these PSD officials used the lack of clarity in the legislation and blocked a European document without consultation. It is the second time when they try to get involved in foreign policy amateurishly and the results are very bad".
Iohannis said that by blocking a EU statement "Romania is taken back to the brink of Europe along countries which are rather Eurosceptic". He reminded that "Romanians are pro-Europe".