In a press conference in Brussels after the European Council summit, President Traian Basescu said “not a single cent” of structural funds for Romania or other countries will go to Greece, as rumoured lately. The president underlined that clarification of EU support for Greece was the biggest stake of the European Council summit from Romania’s point of view, “because seven Greek banks operate in Romania, holding about 27 per cent of the local bank market.”
Basescu added that this is why Romania unreservedly supported any kind of support for Greece. “Now, after we know the European Council’s decision to continue granting financial support to Greece, we look with hope towards the Greek Parliament’s approving the austerity, restructuring programme. (…) We are a very consistent supporter of Greece from this point of view,” the president said.
Touching upon European Council discussions on the economic crisis, Basescu said the only recommendation Romania got in this context was to respect the conditions of its agreement with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.
“The objectives taken by participants within the Euro Plus Pact were analysed, the concrete results of the coordination and evaluation exercise was reflected by a set of recommendations to all member states,” the president said, explaining that from this point of view, Bucharest “is in a very favourable position.” “Romania has already increased the retirement age from 60 to 65 for men and from 58 to 63 for women. Romania has already relaxed its labour market and imposed an austerity programme to cut budget deficits. These are just three examples of recommendations made to many EU states, while Romania has already gone through these difficult moments in 2010 and early 2011,” the president said.
As for the new regulations aimed at consolidating Schengen governance, Basescu said the European Council decided that these new rules will not be applied to Romania and Bulgaria. He said that among others, EU leaders agreed on the possibility of having border checks in some states in exceptional cases, given that migration pressure at the Schengen area’s borders is very high. The president added that during the summit, he had talks with officials from France and The Netherlands, two of the countries that postponed a decision on Romania’s accession to the border-free zone until after the European Commission’s justice reform report.
In the context, the president added that top Romanian magistrates – the presidents of the High Court and the Superior Council of Magistracy, will go to Brussels next week, when the “most delicate part” of the EC monitoring report is to be completed. “I am happy they are getting involved, because politics has no influence whatsoever on justice decisions and it’s good that they decided to go to Brussels in person to explain what is going on with the two institutions,” the president added.