Victor Ponta rebuffed Traian Basescu’s recent attacks, saying that the president has a choice to make whilst in Brussels on Thursday, namely to represent Romania’s interests in the vote for the next EU budget or to fight for his own chair. Basescu asked Ponta to go to the General Affairs Council meeting today, where only European Affairs ministers take part.
The new dispute between PM Victor Ponta and President Traian Basescu, which began last month, has not ended yet. The premier yesterday said that Traian Basescu allegedly told him at Cotroceni that the proposal made by Herman Van Rompuy on European budgetary allocations for 2014-2020 is “unacceptable”. Last Thursday, the two had talks behind closed doors at the Cotroceni Palace. “There was a very clear discussion. He said – and I hope he still remembers, or he should produce the transcripts – that Van Rompuy’s proposal in unacceptable,” Ponta mentioned. “What other intelligent solution does Mr. Basescu have? As long as he declared that Van Rompuy’s proposal is unacceptable and will be vetoed by the British PM and other ministers. What smarter idea that other premiers do Mr. Basescu have? Mr. Basescu has a simple choice: either he fights for Romania, or he fights for his chair. This is what he must do on Thursday. The government’s position is that he must fight for Romania, not for his chair,” the premier added.Also yesterday, Ponta answered the accusations made against him by President Basescu, who had described his statements as “anti-European,” saying that the head of state once again is “irresponsible” and “nothing is more anti-European than crying out loud – because of campaign reasons – that the country whose president you are is not governed by the rule of law.”The premier also referred to the reason for the president refusing to use Romania’s right to veto the decision of European Council’s President Herman Van Rompuy about cutting funds: “Traian Basescu cannot go to Brussels and say – I don’t mind about Romania not receiving the money for the common agricultural policy and for cohesion; all I want is not to upset those who helped me stay president last summer, against 7.4 million Romanians.
“Why hasn’t Traian Basescu allowed me to go to Brussels? He must pay some debts there. Or, we ask him to mind about Romania, not his chair and his personal debts.”Moreover, Ponta said that these days, the state secretaries, government experts and his own advisors went to Cotroceni and advised President Basescu what he should do, because he “did not have the slightest idea” about what had been negotiated. Ponta added that Basescu should give up his electoral campaign at home. Later on, during a press conference at USL headquarters Ponta said that his advisers will travel with Basescu at Brussels.“Let’s give President Traian Basescu a break, to mind his own business, which is representing Romania, going to Brussels, supporting the proposal of the European Commission and the European Parliament, a proposal that does not mean everything Romania wished for, but still means a correct allocation of cohesion and common agricultural policy funds. Mr. Basescu should stop campaigning at home, because I see he is very busy with the electoral campaign, trying to help PDL. Instead he should go and do his duty for Romania, especially as we speak about 2014-2020, when we will pay Mr. Basescu’s pension, Mercedes and everything else from that money and our own work,” Ponta added.
Basescu asked Ponta to attend GAC meeting
The prime minister received Sunday a letter in which President Basescu asks him to go to Brussels today, for a meeting of the General Affairs Council (GAC). The meetings of the Council are attended by European Affairs Ministers, not by the heads of the government. Ludovic Orban is attending the meeting on behalf of Romania. Reporters who found out about the letter, asked Ponta to comment the information. ‘I did receive the letter indeed, but I didn’t want to talk about it because it proves that Traian Basescu doesn’t know the European rules and this is embarrassing’ the PM said. The GAC meeting is important however as it is called to reach an agreement among all 27 member-states at the European Council meeting. Also, GAC will seek to reach a fourth partial general approach on further elements of the cohesion policy legislative package for 2014-2020.According to the agenda, the ministers will have an exchange of views on the preparation of the European Council with the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy.
Corlatean: If EU budget proposal is unacceptable we won’t support it
Romania will not support the EU’s 2014-2020 budget if the proposal is not acceptable, this position being the equivalent of a veto, Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean reiterated in an interview for RFI. He stated that Romania should defend its interests in the dispute over the EU budget and that a proposal that Romania should accept is the one that the European Commission forwarded initially. “There is a need for the budget formula not to include a way of paradoxically earmarking funds for the more developed regions,” Corlatean added.Titus Corlatean also referred to President Traian Basescu, stating that he “interferes in the internal political game.” “On the other hand, all the rhetoric that started recently also reflects a very serious, internal, political, electoral preoccupation that President Basescu and his allies actually have. And hence the desire to interfere, using grand national interests as a pretext, interfering in the internal political game in which political parties, certainly not Romania’s President, should have been exclusively involved.”Corlatean is not the only one who talked about the dispute between the Premier and the President. President Basescu’s spokesperson Bogdan Oprea stated, referring to the Premier’s statements about the Presidency’s position towards “anti-European” statements made by “officials and politicians,” that Victor Ponta “should show calm and responsibility.” European Affairs Minister Leonard Orban stated that reaching an agreement on the EU’s 2014-2020 financial framework is unlikely during this week’s European Council meeting given the positions expressed at this moment.
The Parliament will meet in session today, most likely. Premier Victor Ponta wants to speak in Parliament about Romania’s position at the European Council. He sent the Legislative a request with this regard, which the permanent bureau of the two Houses were expected to debate yesterday at 7.00 PM. In a joint press conference at the USL headquarters, Liberal leader Crin Antonescu said that Basescu violated “the spirit” of the Constitution through his recent statements, but not to the extent to which one could talk about suspending him. Asked, on Antena 3, if he expected to see Traian Basescu getting involved in the elections campaign by using the issue of Romania’s representation in Brussels, Antonescu answered: “Yes, I was expecting that. I believe I am not the only one. In fact, few of us were convinced that Traian Basescu will this time act as a fully constitutional president, in other words without getting involved in the elections campaign.”. PDL leader and ARD co-president Vasile Blaga, said Monday in a press conference that the joint session of both houses of the Parliament, requested by the premier in order to discuss Romania’s position in Brussels, is ‘a waste of time’, and ARD supports the position of the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso on the multi-annual budget of the EU.PNL MEP Norica Nicolai stated on Sunday, in a press conference, that the moment has come for Romania to have a voice within the European Union and to stop hiding “behind the skirt” of German Chancellor Angela Merkel “trying to be nice and to smile.”
PM Ponta says he inherited a disaster in terms of European funds
The premier yesterday said that “Government inherited a disaster in terms of using European funds.” “These programmes were blocked and entered the pre-suspension procedure following the serious problems discovered for the interval 2009 – October 2011, and the present government was able to fix the issues found with three of them, obviously by also accepting financial corrections that could not be avoided, because they refer to the 2009-2011 period. To be more precise, we inherited a disaster in terms of using European funds and, during these six months, we were able to fix a significant part of this disaster. President Traian Basescu and PDL criticise us for being unable to fix everything and create a paradise during these six months. The solution which they propose is to bring back those who created this disaster,” PM Ponta said in a press conference.He added that he informed the leadership of USL and the pertinent ministers about the fact that the acting government, during its six months in power, was able to fix many of the troubles left behind by the previous government teams of 2009-2011, so the Regional Operational Programme and the Environment Sectorial one were unblocked with smaller financial corrections than initially demanded.