Ponta doesn’t attend the Council’s works, only the meeting of the European Socialists.
President Traian Basescu arrived yesterday in Brussels, where he attends the European Popular Party Summit and the European Council works. Taking into account the well known dispute on this topic between Presidency and the Government, the president said, before leaving, that the European Council makes no technical decisions, with the participants being politicians and stressed he had contributed to drawing up the 2020 Agenda, one of the main pillars of which is digitalization. “I’d like to make only one remark with respect to the need for experts in digitalization at this Council. You should know that I do not know any of the heads of state or government who are members of the Council to come from the digital economy. They are politicians. The European Council makes no technical decisions, the technical decisions are made in the European Union Council, not in the European Council. Secondly, I want to remind those who think life began with them that I am one of the heads of state having contributed to drawing up the EU 2020 Agenda, one of the main pillars of which is digitalization. It would be a pity for us to send a beginner there”, Basescu said at the airport before departing for Brussels. Setting the domestic dispute aside, Basescu said that one of the topics on the agenda of the European Council meeting is the development of the digital economy, and that the expansion of the broadband network and 4G communications is paramount for Romania. “(…) The first is the expansion of the broadband network, a process that is in full swing in Romania, and I can tell you that ours is one of the fastest growth rates in the EU. Yet unfortunately, coverage is below the level in developed countries. In the old EU member states, broadband average coverage is 75-80 percent of the users, while in Romania it stands at around 46 percent; it’s true that last year Romania witnessed the highest growth in the EU, 6 percent,” Basescu said, adding that the approach of 4G communication will be extremely important. “As concerns the Digital Agenda, Romania has a serious issue: the progressively growing gap between the private sector that is capable to extend 4G or broadband networks, and administration. The failure of the administration capacity to engage, to capitalize on the expansion of the broadband network, for instance, is something the Government must meditate upon and more than that, take action. How should this happen? The services provided by state institutions, digital services, are far below what the state could really provide: services to the population, certificates, interconnection of databases. At this moment we have a very poor level of databases interconnection,” said the President. The head of the state added that digital networks in EU member states cannot become compatible unless specific regulations are adopted, and that data security is another sensitive issue.
As for PM Ponta, he also arrived in Brussels yesterday to attend a meeting of the European Socialists organized on the sidelines of the European Council. “Surely, the two main political families (Popular and Socialists – editor’s note) are meeting and I will participate in the meeting with the Social Democrat Prime Ministers”, Ponta had previously said in a televised interview. At the moderator’s remark ‘maybe you’ll encounter there (with the President – editor’s note)’, Victor Ponta replied: “I have nothing against, God forbid! Important is for Romania to have a very well structured standpoint, because the IT, the same as energy, is an area with great potential in Romania”, referring to the Digital Agenda, which will be discussed by the Council. He continued that he would not go to the European Council meeting, as he doesn’t want to let the side down out there. In Ponta’s opinion, the President’s vanity and personal frustration to represent Romania at the European Council in a field which is under Government’s authority are not advantageous for Romania and are blocking the correct representation of the Romanian IT industry.