Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Romanian Royal Family dispute

Curierul National (Romania) - 4th December 2001

Sir

As a member of the European Parliament interested in the enlargement process who has also been active in working to secure the civil rights of members of former royal houses in Austria and Italy, I am delighted to see that Romania is a country with has ended all constitutional discriminations of this kind towards the members of its own former royal house. However, a long-running and unnecessarily protracted dispute between ex-King Michel and his older half-brother, Prince Carol Mircea in the Romanian Courts over the latter's legitimacy threatens to undermine that achievement and to damage the reputation of the Romanian legal system in the process.

In 1999 the Romanian Court of Appeal formally recognised the earlier ruling of a Portuguese Court in 1955 (followed by a similar ruling in a French Court in 1957) affirming that Prince Carol Mircea ( who lives in London, which I represent ) is the legitimate first-born son from the legal marriage of Crown Prince Carol of Romania and Princess Ioana Valentina Lambrino. The Supreme court has yet to rule, making this case, which was brought before the Romanian Courts by Prince Carol over ten years ago, the longest-running human rights case in Romania. Sadly, it has been subject to a series of interminable delays and obstructive procedures reminiscent of scenes from Charles Dickens novel Bleak House.

The Romanian government has committed itself to implement the European Union's body of laws the "acquis communitare" and to respect the Copenhagen criteria guaranteeing respect for human rights, the principle of non-discrimination and an independent judiciary. Anything with appears to undermine that commitment cannot but serve to damage Romania's reputation abroad and its ambition to became a Member of the European Union.

A hearing of the Supreme Court is due to take place on December 4th. I hope that the judges will recognise the importance of expediting due process and bring this extraordinary saga to an end. Prince Carol, his son Prince Paul and the Romanian people deserve nothing less."

Yours faithfully

Dr. Charles Tannock MEP
(London Region, Conservative)