European Council: Romania will only have one seat at informal meeting today

Basescu does not comment on Ponta’s statements, says institutions must comply with the Constitution.

Brussels’ answer is that only one official may represent Romania to the informal meeting of the European Council today, as a Council spokesman has said there would only be one seat for Romania at the table, EurActiv.com reports. Asked what would happen if both President Traian Basescu and PM Victor Ponta went to the informal summit in Brussels, the spokesman for the European Council, Jesús Carmona, explained, on Monday, that the two leaders would be let into the building but that only one chair would be provided for Romania in the meeting room. The other leader wouldn’t even have a seat in the second row or the right to speak. ‘It will be for them to decide who will be in the chair reserved for Romania,’ Carmona explained, stressing that the EU officials would not act as mediators in the matter. In Bucharest it is not yet clear who will attend the informal meeting and the official summit on June 28, President Basescu and PM Ponta continuing their dispute over the representation powers. After Ponta had said on Tuesday he would ask the Parliament to decide who should go to Brussels and also criticised Basescu, the president refused to comment on what the PM had said. ‘Allow me not to comment on the statements by the Premier. Romania has a Constitution, an elected president, a Government approved by Parliament. I am convinced that these institutions together have one job to do: comply with the Constitution,’ Basescu said when he was back from Chicago. Asked if PM Ponta had let him know about his visit to Afghanistan, to the Romanian troops deployed there, the president laughed and said: ‘You can be sure I have found out.’ A day ago, Victor Ponta said that, since the Council was dealing with matters related to the work of the Executive, Romania should be represented by the premier and not the president. Ponta also said that, if the head of state goes today to the informal dinner in Brussels, where Government-related things are discussed, he will just be there to eat and joke, because he has no competence on economic policies. The leader of PSD senators, Ilie Sarbu, told RFI yesterday that the new power was not going to take the ‘snowdrop position’ in front of the president and that the representation of the country to Brussels had always been veiled in ‘confusion’. ‘There has always been confusion, also during PM Tariceanu’s term. When Emil Boc was the prime minister, that wasn’t the case, because the poor him had no right to take a distinct position to the president’s! It’s time Romania also went back to normalcy,’ Sarbu said. Asked what powers would the president be left with if Romania was to be represented by the PM in Brussels, Ilie Sarbu said: ‘In the Constitution, at article 91, it is stated that the president concludes international treaties for Romania, treaties that have been negotiated by the Government (…) He has enough powers, he is also a mediator between the powers of the state, but he should use them within the boundaries set by the Constitution, not to his discretion. If he wants to, he shakes a minister’s hand, if he doesn’t he doesn’t. If he wants to, he listens to something that person has to say in certain circumstances, if he doesn’t, he doesn’t he poses in pictures, laughs and makes fun of him… I don’t think this working mode can continue indefinitely! It was like that for as long as no one had absolutely any opinion, everybody was obedient, standing in the snowdrop position, but that is not going to work anymore!’ the Social-Democrat concluded.

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