A political crisis between the president and prime minister led the government to take steps that undermined separation of powers and the rule of law.

Following a May constitutional court ruling that the president, rather than the prime minister, should represent Romania in EU meetings, the government in July stripped the court of its powers to overrule parliamentary decisions, replaced the ombudsman with a party loyalist, and took control of the official gazette that publishes court decisions and laws, in order to delay Constitutional Court rulings coming into effect.

In July, the European Parliament, European Commission, and CoE criticized these actions as contrary to the rule of law, with Commission President José Manuel Barroso referring to possible infringement proceedings. A July European Commission report raised serious concerns about Romania's commitment to the rule of law. It called on the country to reverse measures impacting judicial independence and appoint an ombudsman with cross-party support.

Romanian authorities continued in 2012 to deny allegations that they housed a secret CIA prison to detain and interrogate terrorism suspects, despite a joint investigation by the Associated Press and German public television ARD Panorama, and German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which in December 2011 identified the former location of the prison in Bucharest.

Discrimination and marginalization of Roma remained a concern. Approximately 150 Roma were forcibly evicted in June from informal settlements in Baia Mare, northwestern Romania, and relocated to a former chemical plant without adequate accommodation or sanitation. Several hundred more faced imminent eviction from other informal settlements in Baia Mare.

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