European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker stated on Thursday that he greatly admired the Romanians for what they did at the beginning of the year and affirmed that society demonstrated that it does not allow for “one of its most precious rights” to be taken away from it.
Juncker pointed this out during a dialogue with Romanian citizens when asked what could European Commission representatives do in order to counteract the fact that “the Romanian ministries’ employees hinder Romanian investors’ initiatives.”
In the Commission we focus on major topics and we do not interfere with the daily lives of citizens. The Commission must strictly observe its competencies. I know what you are referring to, I am not saying it is a lesser issue, but Romanian citizens know to rally whenever necessary. Therefore, I am saying it is incumbent to them to solve this issue. The Commission cannot intervene in this sort of issues, which – truth be told – are serious. Romanian society has, nonetheless demonstrated in the past months that it doesn’t allow for one of its most precious rights to be taken away from it. I greatly admired Romanians for what I saw them do at the beginning of the year. Very much indeed, said European Commission president, during the event hosted by the National Art Museum.
There are economic and even social reasons that prompt many young Romanians to leave the country. It is regrettable, because Romania needs its youth and must invest more, just as Europe, in its youth. I sometimes understand the reasons behind the young Romanians leaving the country. The level of the social evolution or welfare standard is insufficient as compared to the ones of other European countries. Actually, the fact that the Romanian youth freely travel through Europe contributes to the country’s reputation, because the Romanian young people abroad, in European states, uphold the image of their country.
On the other hand, Juncker underscored that he wishes these Romanians returned to their country when welfare standards improve.
We mustn’t leave the country out of despair. This is the youth’s homeland. It is a good thing for them to travel everywhere, but this is where they belong and with their contribution Romania will reach an economic and living standard similar to the other countries. Do not leave Romania. Romania deserves you, he said.
Juncker also emphasised the importance of social dialogue, adding that tackling social topics will contribute to the population’s greater support of the European project.
“Corruption is a national evil that has to be eradicated”
Corruption is an evil against which we have to use all our means to fight, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker told a dialogue with Romanians hosted by the National Museum of Arts in Bucharest.
“Corruption is a national evil that must be eradicated,” Juncker said in reply to a question from the public about what can be done to keep high-level corruption in Romania in check.
Juncker underscored that the separation of state powers has to be observed, mentioning that the country’s reputation abroad should not be tarnished by those who pretend to fight against corruption but they really do not.
“I believe corruption is an evil. Corruption is quite widespread in Romania, but Romania is not the only country facing this phenomenon. The power holders inside the society corrupt themselves or let themselves be corrupted in their daily jobs and by doing so they act against the interests of common Romanians. Corruption is an evil and we have to use all the means of our disposal to fight against it, and that is one of the reasons why I established the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism. I have always urged Romanian leaders to do their best against corruption, instead of just words. So, they have to act,” said Juncker.
Asked about what can be done to narrow the gap separating Romania from other EU member states, Juncker said “It is not Romania’s fault that it has amassed delays from other EU member states,” because the difference is history’s fault.
He added that without providing lessons to Romania, the EU has helped the country better walk the path to development, mentioning that in 2007-2013, Romania was granted 20 billion euros in structural and cohesion funds. In 2014-2020, the available funds are standing at 30 billion euros.
“So, Romania needs to better understand how to take up the funds designed for the development of its economy, of its social structures and all the components that are important in the eyes of its citizens,” said Juncker.
He said he picked Romania’s Corina Cretu to be the European commissioner for regional policy because she has a clear idea of things and will manage to turn Europe into an active promoter of overall prosperity.
Attending the debate, Cretu said in her turn that she has worked well with all three Romanian national governments of the past two and a half years.
“Several hundreds of thousands of babies – Erasmus programme’s direct result”
One million European students have got married with people they met through the Erasmus programme, also said the European Commission’s President on Thursday in Bucharest, and the birth of hundreds of thousands of babies was this fact’s direct outcome.
I believe that so far nine million students have participated in the Erasmus programme and out of these nine millions, one million got married. So, instead of falling in love with Europe, they fell in love with a European. And, there, several hundreds of thousands of babies are the direct result of Erasmus programme, said Juncker in a dialogue with the Romanian citizens at the National Art Museum.
When asked what are the outlooks of the Erasmus+ programme’s financing, Juncker answered that the youth programme was allocated to EUR 6.4 billion. He also stressed that the member states to have the duty to take care of this category of age and the task to launch youth policies is not the European Commission’s only.
Erasmus programme is one of the greatest political breakthrough of the European Union and will continue to be like that, without being deprived of means. The council of ministers has slashed the budgetary allocation, but I would have liked the member states to not limit this EU success. Basically, the Erasmus programme was afterwards stretched to Erasmus+, including in a first stage the apprentices and the apprenticeship in the long term. I wish this programme to be expanded to the highschoolers too, so that they have the possibility to study in the European countries, to sense the perfume of Europe, Juncker specified.