Romanian president meets with EU officials in Bucharest

Friday, April 8, 2005 File:European Parliament in Strassburg.jpg

The European Parliament will vote on Romania's Accession Treaty on April 13
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

The President of Romania, Traian Băsescu, met yesterday with Jonathan Scheele, the head of the European Commission's Delegation to Bucharest, as well as with several European parliamentarians (MEPs). The parties discussed Romania's accession to the EU, which is particularly important as the Accession Treaty is scheduled to be signed late this month, after being voted on by the European Parliament on April 13.

Băsescu told the delegation that European integration remains Romania's first priority at the moment, and that after negotiations were closed with the EU in December 2004, accession became a matter of internal politics rather than foreign affairs.

Romanian President Traian Băsescu

The MEPs talked to Băsescu about public opinion regarding EU accession in Romania, as well as the impact of accession on the rural population. Judging from recent polls, the overwhelming majority of Romania's population approve EU accession, even though this may be partly due to the fact that many of them have not been adequately informed of the costs of accession. The parliamentarians also discussed the environment and the situation in neighbouring countries, especially Moldova. Tourism was also discussed in the context of promoting Romania's image to European Union citizens.

The delegation also discussed with Băsescu a key issue in Romania's accession process: judicial reform. The Romanian President told the MEPs that Romania has taken bold steps to reform its judiciary and fight corruption. There is also progress towards forming an anti-corruption department within the Internal Ministry of Romania.

As part of Romania's foreign policy, Băsescu also said that, once a member of the European Union, Romania would act as an advocate for other Southeastern European states wishing to join the organisation, as well as seeking to attract public attention to the broader Black Sea region. Romania and Bulgariaare the most advanced countries in Southeastern Europe in terms of EU integration, and will therefore be the first countries in this region to join the 25-nation bloc.