Jonathan Scheele: Romania lacks clear goals in EU

Five years after Romania’s accession to the EU, Jonathan Scheele, former head of the EU delegation to Bucharest and one of Romania’s backers during the negotiations process, stated in an interview for ‘Adevarul’ daily that “Romania will be able to support a goal in European debates only when it will have a clear idea about what it wants to do or where it wants to go in the next five to ten years.” Thus, the official stated, Romania is only in the position of reacting to the agenda set by others: “Until now I’m not sure there are clear ambitious goals,” Jonathan Scheele stated. Although he claims that despite the economic crisis “Romania is better off than it was five years ago,” something that is visible “in all domains,” the EU representative to London admits nevertheless that “there is still a lot to do in order for Romania to attain its potential – whether we’re talking about infrastructure, modernizing agriculture or administrative reform.”

In fact, he expressed reserves in what concerns administrative reform. “I’ve always hoped there will no longer be a need to talk about this mechanism (Mechanism of Cooperation and Verification – MCV – editor’s note) five years after Romania’s EU accession, but the solution depends on the progress made. (…) The EU cannot force Romania to do what it doesn’t want to do,” the official explained. Moreover, Scheele considers that Romania will change only when things will really change within the administration: “Reforms imposed from outside won’t work.”

In what concerns the problems that Romania is facing (the labor market restrictions that Spain imposed, the immigration issue – editor’s note), he admitted that the crisis and nationalism seen within the EU will not help Romania at all: “The general issue of immigration is pushed forward by populist, nationalist parties in many EU states, while the population’s concerns are aggravated by the economic crisis.” Referring to Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area, the labor restriction imposed by some European states and the absorption of EU funds, Jonathan Scheele pointed out that “Romania is responsible when it comes to using the potential that the EU accession offers to her.”

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