POLITICS

Speaker Dragnea on strategic partnership with US: We must have economic advantages

Romania must begin to have a gain from an economic point of view following its strategic partnership with the United States of America, a viewpoint also upheld in Washington, said on Tuesday night, at private broadcaster B1TV, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Liviu Dragnea when talking about the meeting he had earlier in the day with the US Ambassador in Bucharest, Hans Klemm.

“The Strategic Partnership between Romania and the US is very important to us and very good. It must also begin to have a substantial economic component. That is, Romania must also have some economic gains from this partnership, which, from the defence, military point of view is all right, but it would be good for us and for the Americans as well, I believe, that this partnership have an actual economic component (…) American investment in Romania,” Dragnea told B1TV.

He added that the US representatives’ response was a positive one, with actual results.

“Romania only needs to be introduced. Exxon came, I had a meeting with the Exxon Vice-president, I had a meeting with those from Bell Helicopter. And whatever American official I meet – ambassador or any other Washington official – I express this. And I am also telling it in public: let them come invest in Romania, it is a stable country from a political, economic point of view. It is, it has long been an island of stability in the area. It presents interest to them from a military perspective. I would like our country to be interesting to them from an economic perspective as well. Because I would like the Romanians to feel in their pockets the beneficial effects of this strategic partnership. Romania has been truly loyal and serious within this partnership and will continue to be. Any request on behalf of the American side, was accepted. But, I repeat, we must also have advantages on the economic side. (…) And the response was positive. Both in Washington and here. And things are starting to happen,” he said.

At the same time, the Chamber of Deputies’ Speaker mentioned that during the meeting with Ambassador Hans Klemm, the topic of establishing a Holocaust Museum in Romania was also tackled.

“Mr Radu Ioanid (e.n. – Jewish-descent historian) came from the United States. With him also came Mr Ambassador Klemm. We discussed a few issues related to the Holocaust Museum that will be established in Romania. It is something I discussed with Mr Ioanid in Washington when I was there. I also discussed with Mr Ambassador about the developments in the European Union and about the relations between Romania and the US,” he specified.

 

“My conviction – during this mandate at least two motorways will cut across Romania”

 

The leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD, ruling), Liviu Dragnea expressed his conviction that by the end of this mandate at least two motorways will cut across Romania: Corridor IV and Transylvania Motorway.

“I have participated lately in several discussions, Mr Tariceanu and I, with members of the Government and my conviction is, that in this mandate, at least two motorways will traverse Romania, Corridor IV and Transylvania Motorway. Corridor IV meaning (southeastern) Constanta-Bucharest-Pitesti-Sibiu-Deva-Nadlac (western) and Transylvania Motorway is the former Bechtel Motorway. (…) I trust the leadership of the Transport Ministry, of the Road Company and the Prime Minister for these projects to be carried out,” said Dragnea at private TV broadcaster B1TV.

Asked whether he would take a bet in that respect, the PSD leader replied: “I don’t bet on someone else’s hand.”

On the other hand, Dragnea expressed his hope that the Government would shortly present the draft law on the strategic acquisitions, based on other countries’ model.

“We are talking about a legislative framework that allows the large investment – that we nominally define in a law, in a public debate – to be allowed to have simplified acquisition procedures, so as not to linger, as a state, regardless of who is governing, three or four years until a work starts, until all disputes are handled, all the divergence regarding the investment,” he further said.

As regards the feasibility study for Pitesti-Sibiu Motorway (over the Carpathians), he mentioned that solutions are being looked after, so that the study be finalised by the company that started it.

“I understood that these days, the Transport Ministry was ready to find a solution so that the accomplishment of the feasibility study be carried on, because – if I’m not mistaken – I believe tomorrow would have been the last deadline of the contract, still due to a flawed approach – or, whatever, incorrect – of the previous mandate. (…) I don’t believe it is about receiving more money. It is about finding a solution to possibly extend the deadline, so as to finish the feasibility study with the company that started it. Because otherwise, the acquisition procedure should be repeated which means that we are postponing by two-three more years the execution of this document. But it is their decision to make,” he specified.

 

“Multi-speed EU could eventually lead to Union breakup”

 

Chamber of Deputies’ Speaker Liviu Dragnea voiced his opinion that the existence of a multi-speed EU could at a certain point lead to the Union’s breakup, and underscored the importance of nationwide debates being organized on the subject to determine the possible ways to follow.

“This is a different tune as to the moment we joined. We proceeded with the integration, respected all constraints, all requirements, there have been tough negotiations with each state. (…) I don’t know if those who designed all this have really assessed all possible effects, but this can obviously lead to the EU breaking up at some point. Maybe this is actually the plan, because if they don’t want this, the analysis is superficial. One cannot start from the idea that, on several occasions, a group of states adopts certain decisions separately from the other members and the latter are increasingly happy that they are left outside, with the development gaps separating them from the others progressively widening while the rigors are kept in place. I mean, you keep in place certain requirements that may not favor you permanently,” Dragnea told B1Tv private broadcaster.

Dragnea, who is also the national leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), reminded that, in the light of Romania’s participation in the debates on the future of Europe, he has asked President Klaus Iohannis to initiate consultations with the political parties to establish a common vision that should be consistently promoted outside the country at all political and diplomatic levels.

“I also think we shouldn’t forget, however, that in order to join the EU Romania has done certain things. Large national companies have been privatized and have been acquired by European companies. (…) It’s OK, Romanian resources – power networks, factories, oil companies, refineries, banks have been put into private hands,” Dragnea argued, and went on to say that shifting from the track now requires a serious discussion with the people leading the state in hopes that maybe the decision could be overturned. “If the voice is strong, it might matter after all. But at least one can define a plan to follow: plan A, plan B, plan C, various variants. Maybe the President has already made a decision, maybe he has all the necessary information. (…) But is he able to do it all by himself? If he assures us he can, we just sit back and stay at ease, knowing that the President keeps watch,” said the Chamber of Deputies’ Speaker.

He emphasized that these subjects are being discussed in all EU member states, which carry out various plans or simulations.

“The top risk is for us to get caught in the gap between the powers. This is the highest risk. I don’t say that the President does not have an assessment at hand, [but] is it OK to leave Parliament out? It’s all right, we will initiate debates in Parliament, which may count or not in the end,” Dragnea said.

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