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October 22, 2021

Both President and Prime Minister, in Brussels

Traian Basescu attended the working dinner of heads of state in the EC format, Victor Ponta to the meeting of the heads of state and government of the Party of European Socialists.

Both President Basescu and Prime Minister Ponta were in Brussels. Ponta attended the meeting of the heads of state and government of the Party of European Socialists in order to prepare the informal meeting of the European Council.

The head of state attended the separate working dinner of the heads of state or government of the EU member states, in the format of the European Council and the European People’s Party Summit.
Prior to their departure, the two Romanian officials’ dispute over representing Romania in the European Council was still unresolved. Ponta stated late Monday that President Traian Basescu had not replied to his letter regarding the participation in the European Council Summit. In turn, although President Basescu did not wish to comment on the topic yesterday before leaving the country, he did tell reporters, “I wrote ‘No’.”
On the other hand, President Traian Basescu pointed out that the agenda of the informal meeting of the European Council in Brussels will also include an analysis on the situation in Ukraine, as well as discussions upon the 2014-2019 legislative planning and the result of the European Parliament elections.
“I will participate in an informal European Council that has three topics on the agenda: an analysis of the situation in Ukraine following the presidential elections, the 2014-2019 legislative planning and here I can say that our point of view is that legislation must focus primarily on increasing jobs, encouraging investments and economic growth, and the third point on the agenda – an analysis of the results of the European Parliament elections. (…) The results of the elections show that the EPP has won the elections without having an absolute majority. (…) It is predictable that in the process of shaping the new institutions this will weigh heavily in designating the European Commission President,” said Basescu.
On Monday evening, Ponta announced he would be meeting with the Social-Democratic prime ministers of EU Member States in Brussels to offer them Romania’s point of view. “I will be meeting with Social-Democratic leaders, prime ministers, Mr. Schulz, of course (editor’s note – Socialist Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament and candidate for the European Commission presidency), and with European Commissioners and I will present them with Romania’s point of view, because in accordance with national laws and European regulations Romania expresses herself by way of the Government. President Basescu scored below 6 percent (editor’s note – PMP’s score in the European Parliamentary elections), less than Mircea Diaconu; Mircea Diaconu would be in a much better position to speak about the president of the European Commission than Traian Basescu since he received more votes and is a member of the European Parliament,” Ponta said.
Romania wants to keep Agriculture portfolio
While the disagreement over representation has no end in sight, Romanian officials seem to have adopted a coherent position with regard to the next Romanian Commissioner in the Council’s new structure. PM Ponta said that Romania’s main option concerning the composition of the future European Commission is keeping the Agriculture portfolio, but the Justice Portfolio option “would not be bad.” According to him, Romania will have a weak negotiating power for a representative to the European Commission, as President Traian Basescu will go to the talks in Brussels. “The one who should negotiate is not there, and that is me. The one who is present there has no negotiating power. Everyone knows that he obtained 6 percent and that in November he leaves power, anyway. Therefore, from this point of view, unfortunately, same as at the moment of negotiating the budget for 2014-2020, when Mr. Basescu was there and we obtained the weakest allotment of all EU states, I am afraid that Mr. Basescu, obviously disinterested in what happens in Romania, could lose the Agriculture portfolio next year or could fail to obtain something for Romania,” the Prime Minister said further.
Before departing yesterday, President Basescu also said Romania’s alternative for the next Commission is still Dacian Ciolos as delegate for Agriculture, but he stressed it is not the time for discussions on Romania’s choice of commissioners. “I can see the issue of appointing a commissioner has created quite the uproar. Now is not the time for it, not to imply it is not the time for diplomatic discussions within each government. As far as Romania’s role in the process of devising an advantageous portfolio is concerned, of course our option is to keep Dacian Ciolos in charge of Agriculture, but we are not alone in the world and the Agriculture portfolio has always been the object of much dispute,” the President underlined.
On behalf of the Liberals, Adina Valean has likewise voiced support for the current European Commissioner for Agriculture, Dacian Ciolos, to serve another term if he opts for it and expressed appreciation for his work in the European Commission. “Romania’s portfolio presented by Dacian Ciolos was very important, even if his contribution was not very publicized in Romania. The aim of his amendments to the Common Agricultural Policy was to help countries like Romania and as far as we, the Liberals, are concerned, if he decides to continue, he will have our unconditional support,” Valean stated.

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