Schengen, ties with Russia, strengthening partnerships with the allies – main goals of the foreign policy
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The head of state outlined yesterday the main priorities of Romania’s foreign policy as well as the country’s actions within the European Union in 2013 during the annual meeting with the foreign ambassadors in Bucharest.
President Traian Basescu said in his speech before the foreign ambassadors at Cotroceni, yesterday that the unity of the EU space was not complete only because of political reasons some states continued to use in order to block Romania and Bulgaria’s entry to the Schengen Area. ‘This is my way of calling upon your governments to return to the technical approach to this dossier’, said the president. In what regards lifting labour restrictions for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals by the various EU member states in 2007, after accession, Basescu said he was ready to offer ‘guarantees to the British and anyone interested that Romania is not going to invade Great Britain (in 2014 – a/n). He said our country intended to make a bigger effort to consolidate its partnership with the United Kingdom. The president expressed his hope that 2013 would bring a new dynamic of normality in the relations with the Russian Federation, the ‘key’ to an open political relationship between Moscow and Bucharest being a solution in the Transdnister dossier with the preservation of the territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova. He pointed out that boosting bilateral relations would be quite possible, despite the fact that, both in Bucharest and in Moscow, there still is ‘a shadow of mutual distrust’.
On the other hand, the head of state reasserted his hope that R. Moldova would finalise negotiations for its Association Agreement with the EU this summer and be able to sign the document during the Eastern Partnership Summit set to take place in Vilnius, in November. In his opinion, R. Moldova has proved most notable performance in the Eastern Partnership, ‘which only encourages us to firmly believe in its European future’. On the situation of minorities in Serbia, Basescu said in 2013 Romania would continue to loosely watch how their rights are observed. ‘To Romania, achieving equal access to maternal language for all Romanian ethnic groups – freely self-identified as such – would continue to be a priority in our relations with Serbia as well as with the other countries in the region’.
Attract new investment – a priority in the relations with the U.S.
Traian Basescu also mentioned Romania’s priorities this year, saying that attracting new American investment was a priority for 2013. ‘Our Strategic Partnership for the 21st century with the United States is the trans-Atlantic dimension of Romanian foreign policy and also our most important world-size partnership’, the president noted. He pointed out that, at a bilateral level, the legal framework regulating the participation of Romania to the U.S missile defence system in Europe would be completed this year by concluding all the Arrangements for the Implementation of the Agreement between Romania and the U.S regarding deployment of the elements of the defence system at Deveselu. Basescu also noted that sustained action would be taken for meeting conditions for Romania to be included to the Visa Waiver programme in the context of the promotion and adoption of new relevant legislation in the U.S. The head of state also pointed out that, in the European Union, ‘Romania would endorse the expansion and deepening of the E.U-USA partnership’. The president also stressed the need of upgrading and strengthening the relations with Germany, France and Italy as well as with Israel and Canada. Basescu announced that Romania will continue to work closely with Azerbaijan for moving forward the Nabucco and AGRI energy projects as well as for the setting up of the trade corridor between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
Plea for fair cohesion and CAP financing
According to the president, at the European Council discussing the 2014-2020 financial framework that will take place on February 7-8, the crucial thing for Romania would be to make sure there is fair financing for cohesion policies and for the common agricultural policy (CAP) that would enable the recovery of development handicaps in the EU.’(…) Europe needs a sufficient budget to strengthen its competitiveness in the world and to stay consistent with its own ambitions. However, such things cannot be achieved by perpetuating disparities between regions and member states or current major differences between the subsidies and income of farmers in the various member states’, Basescu said.
Restore trust in the rule of law – main Government task in the EU
The head of state did not miss out on the opportunity to point his finger at the Ponta Government, saying that restoring the confidence of partner European states in Romania’s capacity of having the rule of law was the main task for the Bucharest Government in 2013 in Europe. He stressed that Romania needed a recognition of its ‘predictability of action only a stable institutional system can guarantee’. ‘We must demonstrate that the fight against corruption is a constant concern and that there is continuity of approach in that respect both in the Government and in the parliamentary majority’, said the president, also noting that 2012 had been ‘a complex and politically turbulent year’ for Romania. ‘Events in July-August (a hint at the dismissal of the speakers of the two Chambers of Parliament and his suspension – a/n) meant a major step back in what regards justice and rule of law standards, but also from the point of view of our international commitments, first of all the Treaty of Accession to the European Union’, said Traian Basescu.