Fact Check: Laura Codruța Kövesi NOT Confirmed As Top Candidate On MEP List For Romanian Governing Coalition

Fact Check

  • de: Ioana Burtea
Fact Check: Laura Codruța Kövesi NOT Confirmed As Top Candidate On MEP List For Romanian Governing Coalition Speculation

Has Laura Codruța Kövesi, the head of the European Prosecutor's Office (EPPO), been ranked as the top candidate for a seat in the European Parliament from Romania's governing coalition? No, that's not true: Kövesi has not declared any intention to run for office, and coalition leaders are still collaborating on their joint list of candidates, refraining from disclosing any names at this time.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok by @life_racer207777 on February 22, 2024, under the title (translated from Romanian to English by Lead Stories staff) "Start Masquerade. Let's not bite!" It opened:

Who is at the top of the list for the European Parliament, from PSD-PNL? Guess! Laura Codruta Kövesi. (...) The shared candidate will be presented as a fighter against extremism and the only goddess who can save us.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-02-23 at 15.55.54.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Fri Feb 23 13:58:12 2024 UTC)

On February 21, 2024, Romania's governing coalition, formed by the parties PSD (social democrats) and PNL (national liberals), agreed to run together for the 2024 elections (archived here), both nationally and at a European level. With Romania set to undergo four rounds of elections in 2024 (archived here), the coalition has opted to amalgamate the local and member of the European Parliament (MEP) elections, presenting joint candidates for both.

On the same day, Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu (PSD) expressed his wish to see a "woman independent of both parties" take the top spot on the MEP list for the coalition (archived here). When questioned by reporters about potential candidates, Ciolacu responded, "It has not been decided yet."

There is no evidence to suggest that the woman in question is Laura Codruța Kövesi, the former prosecutor general and former head of the Romanian Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) (archived here). There are multiple reasons why this scenario would be implausible: Kövesi served as the head of the European Prosecutors' Office since 2019, with a seven-year term (archived here). Consequently, this makes her ineligible for pursuing political positions, and she has explicitly stated her lack of interest in politics previously (archived here).

During an interview for Politico on February 8, 2024 (archived here), Kövesi expressed her objective of securing a larger budget for the EPPO, which would enable her to establish an "elite force of financial investigators throughout the bloc." She did not indicate any intention to step down from her position before the end of her term.


  Ioana Burtea

Ioana Burtea has worked in journalism for 15 years. She started her career at Mediafax news agency in Bucharest and has written for DoR magazine for over seven years. Her collaborations include publications like Europe & Me, New Eastern Europe, Balkan Insight and Washington Post. Ioana published pieces on the justice system in Romania, social affairs, politics and personal essays. In 2018,  she became a fellow of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.  In 2021, she received the first prize in the Portrait category at the national Superscrieri journalism awards.

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