US Ambassador in Bucharest Hans Klemm on Friday stated in a speech delivered at the “Al. I. Cuza” University of Iasi that a key objective of the strategic partnership between Romania and the US is also the promotion of the common economic prosperity, while also adding that, although the GDP in our country has increased very rapidly after the EU accession, the gains of this economic growth are especially due to the citizens in the urban area, while three quarters of the population in the rural environment lives in poverty.
The speech of the US Ambassador was held on the occasion of the conference on political sciences “International development and democratisation.” The American official brought to mind that, for two decades, the United States and Romania have closely collaborated, building a framework that strengthens bilateral relations, supporting development and Euro-Atlantic integration of Romania and confronted together the global and regional challenges.
On the other hand, he showed that the benefits of accession to the EU are unevenly distributed at economic and social level in Romania.
He quoted the Eurostat statistics regarding EU’s healthcare expenditures, according to which Romania has some of the lowest healthcare expenditures per capita in 2016, and showed that many of the Romanian citizens have no access to the healthcare system, as they are part of the informal economy.
He also said that in education, too, the situation is similar, as the system is under-financed, pro-capita education is the lowest in the EU and the differences between the educational performances of the young people living in the rural area and those in the urban area in Romania are very visible.
The US official said that according to the OECD programme for International Student Assessment, only 40 per cent of the 15-year old citizens of Romania are functional illiterates. He went to say that President Iohannis has just spoken about these challenges three days ago, launching an initiative in the education field. Romania had the lowest vocational education rate in the European Union, with pupils in the rural area coming from a disadvantages environment having substantially bad fate. He offered as example the Roma children who learn in separate schools, re-strengthening the segregation models, which are increasing the gap in what the quality of education is concerned. The US Ambassador said that more than 80 per cent of the schools with low results and only 1 per cent of the schools with high performances are located in the rural areas. Approximately 27 per cent of the young in the country do not finish secondary education and their informal employment dominated the agricultural sector, with more than 1.6 million participants involved in subsistence agriculture, said Hans Klemm.
The US official brought to mind that the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank helped several Romanian governments to improve efficiency of public administration, to approach the necessary structural reforms, to invest in human capital and create conditions so that all Romanians enjoy the benefits of being an EU member state.
Furthermore, the US official underscored that the strategic partnership between the two countries is based on the shared commitment towards values such as the rule of law, the open market and the observance and promotion of human rights.