Schengen, removing the labour restrictions against Romanian workers, Nabucco, AGRI and consolidating relations with Russia, China, Turkey – this year’s targets.
President Traian Basescu criticised yesterday, during the annual meeting with the heads of diplomatic missions in Bucharest, the delay of a decision on Romania’s accession to the Schengen Zone, and the labour restrictions still kept in place by some EU countries against Romanian workers. In his first public statement after the debut of protests, the head of state did not mention them in his address.
According to the president, Romania is surprised by the delay in making a decision about the country’s accession to Schengen: “We are surprised that, after raising the question twice in the European Councils of October and December, the accession decision is still delayed, although the situation ‘de jure’ and ‘de facto’ is clear.” According to the head of state, “all conditions in view of a favourable decision are met.” Basescu added that Romania is waiting for the concrete proposals of the European Commission regarding the MCV, as it expects the February report to be positive. “We are waiting for the concrete proposals of the Commission regarding the prospects of this Mechanism, with the starting point being our evaluation that the February report will be a positive one, which will outline the progress achieved by Romania,” the head of state mentioned. On the same occasion, he said that the decision of nine EU member states to keep in force labour market restrictions is “completely unjustified.” The Romanian leader thanked the Italian government for lifting the restrictions against Romanian workers, starting January 1, 2012.
As foreign policy objectives, the president mentioned that Romania wants to consolidate the dialogue with Russia, on pragmatic basis. He also explained that Romania’s foreign policy will grant a particular attention to the relations with China, and to the partnerships with Japan and Korea. Basescu also referred to the relations between Romania and Turkey, saying that Bucharest plans to set in place, this year, “an action plan that will feature concrete collaboration projects, with emphasis on the economy and promotion of investments, as well as the cooperation in European affairs and securing regional stability.”
According to the head of state, energy security is among Romania’s priorities, so Nabucco and AGRI remain firsthand objectives for our country. In a different move, Basescu described the ‘Arab Spring’ as the most important political event of 2011, which reiterated the euphoria produced, more than 20 years ago, by the fall of dictatorial regimes in Eastern Europe.
Romanian economy evolved above expectationsí
According to President Basescu, 2011 was a difficult year, when the economic, financial, humanitarian and sometimes political crisis put to trial the world’s population. “As crisis got more severe, it became obvious in Europe that strengthening the Union is the future,” he said. Speaking on the same subject, the Apostolic Nonce in Romania, Francisco-Javier Lozano was quoted by Mediafax as warning about the danger that human dignity and human rights are sacrificed in some countries, in order to combat the global crisis. The Romanian people proved it has qualities that allow it to overcome serious difficulties, he added.
Coming to the situation of Romania, Basescu described it to foreign diplomats in very optimistic terms, saying that the Romanian economy evolved, in the first nine months of 2011, “above the expectations of many,” especially due to a good agricultural output, big export demands, and the investments made by the government. Romania had a period of constant growth, starting with the 4th quarter of 2010, and “statistic data will indicate an average economic increase of approximately 2.5 pc for 2011,” Basescu stated. The President said he would continue to be an active partner of the Government in adopting the measures comprised in the agreements with EU and IMF.
According to the president, the money allotted by the state this year will mainly serve to financing economic growth and the job creation process. “We will modernise the transport infrastructure, increase energy performance by thermally rehabilitating dwellings, support investments in tourism, environment, agriculture, the IT sector and small and medium-sized enterprises,” Basescu explained. Among the reforms’ priorities, Basescu also mentioned conclusion of the Health Law, which is fiercely criticized and was one of the reasons of the protests.
Referring to the meeting between the president and the ambassadors accredited in Bucharest, PSD Senator Olguta Vasilescu said that the members of the diplomatic community would have certainly expected a reaction of the president to the wave of protest rallies going on across the country these days. Later on, FM Teodor Baconschi said that no embassy came to the Foreign Ministry office to ask questions about the protests.