Europe

Romania: Prosecutors oppose effort to weaken misconduct law

  • Protesters shout slogans outside the government headquarters in Bucharest, Romania, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. Some 10,000 people marched through Romania's capital and other cities on Sunday to protest a government proposal to pardon thousands of prisoners, a move critics said would set back anti-corruption efforts. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

    Protesters shout slogans outside the government headquarters in Bucharest, Romania, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. Some 10,000 people marched through Romania's capital and other cities on Sunday to protest a government proposal to pardon thousands of prisoners, a move critics said would set back anti-corruption efforts. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)  (The Associated Press)

  • Protesters march outside the Justice Ministry in Bucharest, Romania, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. Some 10.000 people marched through the Romanian capital and other cities to protest a government proposal to pardon thousands of prisoners which critics say could reverse the anti-corruption fight. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

    Protesters march outside the Justice Ministry in Bucharest, Romania, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. Some 10.000 people marched through the Romanian capital and other cities to protest a government proposal to pardon thousands of prisoners which critics say could reverse the anti-corruption fight. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man holds a poster depicting the leader of the ruling Social Democratic party Liviu Dragnea, during a protest in Bucharest, Romania, early Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. Romania's government adopted an emergency ordinance late Tuesday to decriminalize official misconduct, dealing a blow to a yearlong drive to curb corruption in the eastern European country. Justice Minister Florin Iordache said the measure will decriminalize cases of official misconduct in which the financial damage is valued at less than 200,000 lei ($47,800). Tens of thousands of Romanians protested against the ordinance in recent weeks, saying it would weaken anti-graft efforts. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

    A man holds a poster depicting the leader of the ruling Social Democratic party Liviu Dragnea, during a protest in Bucharest, Romania, early Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. Romania's government adopted an emergency ordinance late Tuesday to decriminalize official misconduct, dealing a blow to a yearlong drive to curb corruption in the eastern European country. Justice Minister Florin Iordache said the measure will decriminalize cases of official misconduct in which the financial damage is valued at less than 200,000 lei ($47,800). Tens of thousands of Romanians protested against the ordinance in recent weeks, saying it would weaken anti-graft efforts. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)  (The Associated Press)

Anti-corruption prosecutors in Romania say a government proposal to decriminalize some official misconduct will lead to an increase in corruption.

The National Anticorruption Directorate said Tuesday that the emergency ordinance the government is seeking would "encourage the abusive behavior of public workers, dishonesty, (and) immorality."

A draft of the proposal shows the government plans to pardon thousands of prisoners and decriminalize cases of official misconduct in which the financial damage is valued at less than 200,000 lei ($47,800.) Tens of thousands of Romanians have protested, saying the measure would weaken anti-graft efforts.

The government says the measure is needed to reduce prison overcrowding.

Justice Minister Florin Iordache has denied it was designed to benefit politicians, a number of whom have been caught up in the country's fight against high-level corruption.