U.S. reaffirms commitment to a strategic partnership with Romania

P.M. Victor Ponta assured Joe Biden that justice will be removed from internal political battles
“The Vice President Joe Biden reaffirmed the enduring U.S. commitment to a strategic partnership with Romania and thanked the Prime Minister for Romania’s steadfast support on a range of regional challenges, including in Afghanistan and its hosting of a missile defense base in Deveselu in support of key NATO capabilities”, reads a press release of the White House, after Biden and Ponta official meeting in Washington on Tuesday. “Both contributions demonstrate Romania’s unwavering dedication as a bilateral partner and NATO ally to strengthening regional and international security”, reads the document.
The two leaders also agreed on the importance of expanding trade and investment between the two countries, and welcomed support for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations, which has the potential to generate significant increases in the already substantial number of jobs supported by U.S.-EU trade and investment.
“The Vice President underscored that Romania’s success as a democratic partner with strong rule of law is vital to nourishing a healthy business climate and remains profoundly in our shared interest”, the document concludes.
In his turn, prime minister Ponta reassured Romania remains an important US ally in the region: ‘It was a full hour of talks with the second most important US man and the main architect of the US policy in Romania’s region, a man who knows very many things about Romania and who was well informed. In short, the idea I have brought from the meeting is that Romania to the US remains an important country and ally in the region. I think the Vice-President used the words our ally in the region ten times and we are talking politically and militarily, but also economically,’ Ponta told private broadcaster RTV, according to Agerpres.
He also said the US vice-president conveyed to him a very clear message that Romania can count on the US but it should be strong on its own and first of all economically strong.
‘His message was that which I believe I first heard in 2003 in Romania: be a regional player, a bridge to other countries in the region, be it Russia or Ukraine. I mentioned my recent visit to Turkey and meeting with Turkey’s prime minister and the message was very clear that Turkey and Romania are the US allies and they should be partners in their respective region,’ said Ponta.
He pointed out that political ties between Romania and the US are relevant to the US companies, which want them to be as good as possible.
‘There was a message of political support and you can realise that any big US company first of all checks the relationship between the two governments, if the country has political stability, a functioning judiciary and a good investment framework. I am convinced that following my discussions here in Washington today and yesterday, all the big companies already doing business in Romania will stay in Romania and even increase their investments,’ said Ponta.
He also said Biden assured him that the US does not believe the development of excellent economic relations with Russia or China would go against the US, showing that the US are themselves building economic relations with the world’s big players.
On the other side, Ponta said he assured the American Vice President Joe Biden that justice will be removed from the internal political struggle.
‘He said that for the U.S. companies the idea of having an independent and efficient justice is very important, a thing that I totally agree with and I assured him that justice will become more and more removed from the internal political battles because it was a battlefield for domestic policy. And I assured him that the main objective is to no longer involve justice in political battles. I’m convinced that this will happen since 2014 ‘, Victor Ponta said on RTV.
US lawmakers to discuss Romania’s inclusion in Visa Waiver program
During his visit in US, Ponta also said he will discuss with US lawmakers the need to lift visa requirements for Romanian nationals travelling to the US, voicing hope that his arguments will be useful.”Lifting the visa requirements for Romanian nationals does not depend on US President Barack Obama or Vice President Joe Biden, but on the US Chamber of Representatives, as the US Senate already approved a bill to this end. And that is why I will have a meeting with some lawmakers, mostly Republicans, directly involved in drawing up the bill,’ Ponta told RTV. “Nobody has anything special against Romania and Poland, but the big discussion on immigration legislation separate Republicans from Democrats almost irreconcilably. I hope a technical solution will be found to settle the issue”, he added
Romania might recognize Kosovo’s independence
Romania’s Prime Minister Victor Ponta has informed US Vice President Joe Biden, that Romania might change its position on Kosovo in 2015 and recognize the independence of Kosovo. ‘In relation to Romania’s position on Kosovo, I told him that nothing will change in 2014, but that I believe in 2015 Romania will join all the European states so that it may coordinate its position with that of its partners,’ Ponta told RTV private broadcaster.
Ponta said early this June that he is in favour of a more rapid process of Romania recognizing the independence of Kosovo, whereas Romania’s President Traian Basescu was more prudent. The plenum of the European Parliament on April 18 passed a resolution calling on the five EU member states that have not recognized the independence of Kosovo yet, Romania included, to do so. Later on, Ponta stated Romania should join the European family on this matter.

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