The image of Romania was badly affected by the 2012 political crisis, when the European Commission expressed concerns about the rule of law, pointing to the power struggle between Prime Minister Victor Ponta and President Traian Băsescu. The Commission also criticised Romania for failing to root out corruption and political influence in its state institutions. One year later, in December, the Chamber of Deputies passed, without parliamentary debate, several controversial amendments to the Penal Code, according to that the country's President, senators, members of the lower chamber, as well as lawyers, are no longer to be considered "public officials". This in turn means they can no longer be held to account for abuse of office, bribery, conflicts of interest and other corruption crimes. The amendments were sharply criticised by Romanian opposition parties and European leaders, while the Constitutional Court of Romania cataloged this move as unconstitutional.
Due to the EU accession, Romania has improved transparency and accountability in the public sector. However, citizens and businesses still consider the government's reform weak and slow due to poor implementation of laws on transparency of information and decision-making process. The judicial system is said to be ineffective in fighting against corruption.