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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement following the meeting with the President of Romania Traian Basescu
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Joint press point
Brussels, 22 April 2010
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,
It has been a pleasure to welcome once again President Basescu back to the European Commission.
I would like to congratulate him on his re-election as President of Romania and also his achievement in putting together a new government for Romania. President Basescu is a committed European and we will work with him to help modernise Romania, strengthen its role in the EU and extend the full benefits of membership to Romanian citizens.
We look forward to working closely with the newly formed government. We believe Romania needs political stability and courage in order to promote difficult but necessary reforms. We have discussed the agenda of reforms that are needed in a range of different areas. In fact we have also discussed reforms for Europe. It is not only Romania that needs reforms. And I am very grateful to receive support from President Basescu for our European Union 2020 strategy.
The Commission has shown its solidarity with the Romanian people with financial assistance during the economic crisis.
A financial package of about 20 billion Euro has been provided by the European Commission, IMF and World Bank in 2009. A further joint mission will visit Bucharest from 26 April to discuss payment of the third instalment of the Balance of Payment loan.
I have conveyed to President Basescu my concern about the worsening of the government deficit. Fiscal control and reining in the deficit is an indisputable priority. Romania needs to move up a gear to radically modernize its public administration as a pre-requisite for structural reforms and increase the efficient use of EU structural funds.
We will try to support these reform processes at national level through a European-wide framework. That is exactly why it is important the Europe 2020 strategy We need to show to our citizens that we are committed to learn the lessons from the past, that we mean business when we speak about reform at European level. That is why the targets that we have proposed are important – all of them, including the targets on education and the fight against social exclusion. And once again thank you, President Basescu, for the support to that agenda.
Romania also needs to strengthen its efforts to register significant progress in judiciary reform and the fight against corruption. The next steps are the adoption of the criminal and civil procedure codes and implementing legislation.
Like President Basescu, I am concerned by the possible weakening of the National Integrity Agency following the recent ruling of the Constitutional Court. The agency needs a firm legal basis to guarantee full independence and the ability to conduct proper investigations. So I believe that Romania will honour its commitments when it comes to this very important National Integrity Agency.
We have also discussed other issues of common interest such as energy security. In particular, I congratulated Romania on the recent ratification of the Nabucco Intergovernmental Agreement (19 March 2010) and thank Romania for its strong commitment to the Nabucco project. Nabucco is well on track and I believe this will make a real difference to our energy security.
We have discussed other issues, regional issues, issues about the future of Europe – where we are, where we should be in the future. And I want to tell you that it was, once again, a very good discussion, the one I had with President Basescu. We very much appreciate his contribution, his personal contribution to the discussions in the European Council, where President Basescu and Romania have already a good track record of support to the European Union, support to our common projects and support to the European institutions.