The head of state proposed to set up an agency that should enjoy the first buyer’s rights when owners want to sell their land.
Currently Romania should focus on agriculture, as it is a branch of economy that cannot be delocalised. ‘Tourism and agriculture are fields that lay down the fundament of Romania’s economic development. Agriculture should be a priority of first instance’, President Traian Basescu stressed at the Farmers’ Conference yesterday. Basescu warned about the irrigation system in Romania: ‘looking at the financial resources available in 2014-2020 from the EU, it is crucial that we use funds allocated for rural development and the cohesion funds for re-starting the construction of the Siret-Baragan and Bucharest-Danube canals as water sources for our main agricultural regions’. The president also said Romania, in the coming period, should also consider the export of food. ‘After we deal with the priority of meeting the food demand in Romania, we should capitalise on our potential also by exporting food, but not necessarily wheat and corn. (…) If we want to perform, we must eat, and food can only come from agriculture. (…) The world’s next crisis is not going to be a money crisis, but a food shortage,’ the president warned.
Brussels not the High Porte, but a partner for Romania
Traian Basescu said Brussels should be seen as a partner when it comes to developing Romanian agriculture. ‘Brussels is not the High Porte. I believe Brussels is our partner, on one condition – that we respect the rules,’ the president noted. In addition, European Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos, also attending the event, said ‘no matter how tall the gate might be, it will still have a handle’, which should be the philosophy of Romanian farmers. He asked Romanian farmers to give up on the theory that ‘we here, in Romania, they there, in Europe’, as they are the beneficiaries of a common policy – the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The EU official also told farmers to ‘directly’ tackle PAC. According to President Basescu, Romania needs to develop its rural development programme quickly, so that the Government can send it to Brussels in due time to also receive the financing for 2014. Basescu said the 2014 budget was definitely going to come into force, therefore it should find Romania with its procedures and bureaucracy ready. The agricultural cadastre is another fundamental urgency, according to the president, being extremely important in respect of both direct payments and the enforcement of the new property restitution law.
Farmers should stop selling land
The priority the Government ought to be agriculture – the president says – comes from the fact that, unlike the investment in factories made in Romania over the past years, ‘agriculture cannot delocalise’. ‘Nobody will take the land or the beauties of this country away’, Basescu said, advising farmers not to sell their land and telling the state to ‘create an agency that should act as first buyer when Romanians want to sell’. On that note, the president warned that the Romanian state was under an obligation to set up an agency that should offer to buy when Romanian owners chose to sell their land. ‘Definitely, the state has the obligation to create an agency that should enjoy the first buyer’s rights when owners want to sell their land. It is, I believe, a solution that could prevent agricultural production from going out of control,’ said the president.
Pact with parties on agriculture
President Traian Basescu is approaching political parties with a new pact, one for agriculture this time, to be signed after the Steriu Commission from Cotroceni publishes the agriculture strategy it has been working on since 2009, at the end of June. ‘I have set up a commission to develop this strategy, hoping to sign a Pact for Agriculture with all political parties. We are getting close to finalisation. The deadline is June 30. The Chairman of the Commission, Valeriu Steriu, assured me it can be done,’ Traian Basescu said.