The Political Tensions in Romania Make the Country a "problem-child" Inside the European Union

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The Political Tensions in Romania Make the Country a

Romania is the most recent proof that becoming a member of the European Union is not some sort of miracle medicine against political instability and cannot guarantee good governance, ‘Deutche Welle’ comments in an analysis of the country’s role inside the EU.

According to the study, whose findings were quoted by Mediafax and several central dailies, Bucharest leaders have got so involved in quarrels that even former Justice Minister Monica Macovei, “Brussels’ hope” was chased away from her post.

The political crisis in Romania is basically a good justification for all those who allow Romania to be only “a second-hand member of the Union,” facing restrictions and tough monitoring. Brussels needs stable partners, not problem children, the radio channel said.

The analysis came after another study in the foreign media criticised Romania and Bulgaria as well for going back to their old ways and “sicknesses” after finally joining the EU on January 1. According to Austrian daily ‘Der Standard,’ corruption and political elites’ gaining as much money as possible are the biggest problems both Bucharest and Sofia are still facing.

Moreover, the newspaper criticised the fact that the pace of reforms in the two countries is slower than the pace in which political and business elites gather wealth. The two countries, which until recently, made efforts to acquire reforms and join the EU, now seem to be lagging behind, the publication said.

If, before accession, the two governments feared Brussels’ criticism, now they seem not to care anymore if they may be sanctioned, as is the case of Romania, which risks being sentenced by the European Court if it does not give up registration taxes for old vehicles.

The Austrian daily also spoke of a “sudden awakening” of the Dambovita pride, in reference to Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu’s recent statement that Romania is not a model student and doesn’t need “shy politicians” who change their opinion every time Brussels “frowns at them.”

Moreover, the Brussels-kind of political culture is decaying in Sofia and Bucharest along with political instability. The period when reforms were simulated for purely political reasons in the two countries ended immediately after their accession, ‘Der Standard’ said.

The newspaper also wonders if the current situation in the two countries may be due to the fact that here the transition process towards democracy and market economy was completely different than in other countries in Eastern Europe.

Romania and Bulgaria had no real dissidents that could define the political democratic standards in the transition period. Development of civil society is still far behind and all political parties are still completely dependant on money from the economic oligarchy, the newspaper said. Moreover, in the 1990’s the privatisation process was a lot slower than in Hungary and the Czech Republic and Romanian and Bulgarian political elites took any opportunity they had to gain money. It is enough to take a look at the media in these two countries, and “we will have the impression that all parties are affected by corruption and organised crime,” ‘Der Standard’ concluded.

German official envoy critical of Romanian reforms

During a press conference at the German Embassy yesterday, Ambassador Roland Lohkamp and the Bundestag European Affairs Committee’s rapporteur for Romania, Gunther Krichbaum, criticised the pace of reforms in Romania and internal political tensions, Rompres reported.

Krichbaum, who is a member of the Christian-Democrat group in the Bundestag, said his party is concerned about the delay in Romanian judicial reforms, given that the European Commission’s report which will decided whether to trigger the safeguard clause for Romania is due in June.

He also expressed concern about the law for the creation of the National Integrity Agency (ANI) and underlined that both the Premier and the Justice Minister must not spare any efforts to have the law passed. Kirchbaum criticised the fact that the law was “diluted” in Parliament, saying there are lawmakers who do not want this agency to be created and to control their wealth.

Kirchbaum also talked about the corruption issue and the low rate of European funds absorption. He added that Romania has to come up with concrete initiatives and strategy as regards the Black Sea area, given that the German presidency of the European Union has made this a priority, at Romania’s insistency. In his turn, Ambassador Lohkamp said that unfortunately, internal political tensions in the country have a negative influence on German investors who want to do business here.

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