The Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta said on Monday, in a meeting with American business people, that the political and military relations with the U.S. are almost perfect and Romania would like to see the economic relations with the United States to reach the same level. Yesterday evening the Romanian Premier had a scheduled meeting at the White House with US Vice President Joe Biden. Government sources quoted by ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ daily even evoked the possibility of a meeting between Ponta and US President Barack Obama
The delegation of the Romanian government headed by Premier Victor Ponta arrived on Sunday evening in the U.S. for an official visit that ends on Wednesday. Ponta is accompanied by Energy Minister Constantin Nita, Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean, Minister of Education Remus Pricopie, and Environment Minister Rovana Plumb.
‘We are grateful for the opportunity to meet in this format, so as we managed to meet also in Bucharest . (…) Our political and military partnership works almost perfectly and we are proud of this. But I am here, first of all, to give assurances that we wish to keep the economic relations at the same level. I do not hide the fact that Romania’s economic potential could be a higher one than at present. (…) I encourage you to invest even more, to create jobs ‘, said Prime Minister Ponta in the opening of the roundtable organized by the American – Romanian Business Council ( AMRO ) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce & Business Roundtable (BR) .Ponta added that together with fellow delegates, ministers of Energy, Environment, Foreign Affairs and Education , wants to present ‘ a picture of a government engaged in business development ‘, a country engaged in improving economic relations and in providing ‘ predictability and stability ‘. ‘And I think that stability and predictability are the key words for all the companies you represent ‘, underlined Victor Ponta quoted by Agerpres. In turn, the event organizers thanked the Romanian Prime Minister for his presence, given the busy schedule of his visit to the U.S., where he has scheduled meetings with high-level U.S. officials. Also, they appreciated the importance of the Romanian delegation and expressed their desire to further develop successful businesses between American companies and Romanian ones.
The Romanian Prime Minister further made a presentation of the business potential and answered questions of representatives of AMRO component companies together with Secretary of State for International Trade Francisco Sanchez. AMRO is an entity established in January 2012, with more than 80 U.S. companies as members, including Exxon, Chevron, Rayethon, CNA. Business Roundtable is the largest lobbying organization in the U.S. and represents the interests of companies whose turnover is around 7.3 trillion dollars. On the first day of his visit to the US, the Romanian Head of Government also met US Secretary of State for Energy Ernest Monez, and representatives of Chevron, ExxonMobil, HP, and Motorola, and visited the headquarters of IBM.
According to Agerpres, Premier Victor Ponta said in Washington that during the talks he held with Tom Holst, the president of Chevron Romania, he reiterated the fact that the Government he had been heading was determined to support all the explorations of nonconventional resources, namely shale gas. ‘I have not talked anything else different from what we talk in Bucharest, we have discussed the fact that, for Romania, the energy independence is a national strategic aim. And that we can reach this energy independence both by using conventional resources – I am not only referring to the ones exploited by Romgaz and OMV Petrom, but also to the ones offshore in the Black Sea – but at the same time the Government I have been heading is very determined to support all explorations of nonconventional resources, shale gas in plain Romanian. Explorations that are made not only by Chevron, but also by other companies,’ said Ponta at the end of the talks with Chevron officials after the roundtable conference organized by AMRO. The Premier added that as long as all environment conditions were observed, ‘the economic advantages are quite huge.’ The Head of Government also said that Chevron did not intend to withdraw from Romania. ‘They intend to do something I have asked for every time too. To inform more clearly of the conditions of environment protection, the technological conditions, the economic advantages. I am absolutely sure and they are absolutely sure that an important part of people who oppose this project are open to these explanations. They must only get them. As it happens in all the countries of the world, there will be a radical minority which listens to no argument, no matter how reasonable it might be, but which cannot impose on the majority a decision or the renunciation of a national strategic aim,’ said Victor Ponta.
The Premier’s meeting with Chevron representatives took place several days after several protests that took place in Romania against Chevron’s shale gas exploration in Pungesti, Vaslui County. The protests determined the American company to temporarily suspend its activity in the area. According to ‘Romania Libera’ daily, Romania’s governments signed 59 oil agreements that make possible, in the future and on certain conditions, the exploitation of shale gas. Former President of Romania and honorary president of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Ion Iliescu declared yesterday Prime Minister Victor Ponta’s ongoing visit to the U.S. is a good thing because, regrettably enough, such contacts have been missing for quite long. ‘I think the last Premier to travel to the U.S. was (Adrian) Nastase but since … What weighs a lot in the relationship with the United States is not just proclaiming the desire for and the utility of such relationships, but in a more effective approach, it’s the heads of government engaging into it. Therefore, what Ponta does today is a good thing,’ said the PSD honorary president at the Palace of Parliament.