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Pottering: Fast reforms are needed

Hand-Gert Pottering, a President of the European Parliament, is starting his visit to Bucharest next Monday, October 15. In his exclusive interview to ZIUA, he argues that good participation in the election of MEPs in Romania would prove Romania's commitment in Europe.

The EU official puts is straight the Romania's EU membership is a positive thing for the EU, meaning the member states inhabited by almost 500 million people, relying on the same set of values: human dignity, people's responsibility to themselves and also to the entire community and society, democracy, rule of law and social market economy.

As far as the electoral campaign is concerned, the EU official explains it should combine national matters and European ones, since they are intertwined, anyway. He argues that the four categories of politicians must work together and persuade people into going to poll stations. The more electors do it, the more legitimate their representatives in the Parliament of Europe will be, he emphasizes. If the number of participants is good enough, then Romania will reach the top of the list, become an example and prove its commitment in Europe.

Hans-Gert Pottering also approaches the European Commission's latest ultimatum for Romania: unless urgent measures are taken by November 9, the safeguard clause may be activated on Romanian agriculture. He advises Romania to do all its best and do it as fast as possible in order to make the necessary progress with the use of legal norms and the fair use of subventions for agriculture. The European Commission will demand the activation of the safeguard clause, he mentions, only if noticing the required progress has not be made. Therefore the President of the Parliament of Europe recommends Romanian authorities should do their best to improve the state of things in agriculture.

As far as Justice is concerned, he comments the reforms must go on, although it is hard to achieve true rule of the law and independent Justice after almost 50 years of Communism. But since Justice is the very legal basis of democracy, all the Romanian politicians should help it go the right way in the fight against corruption.

When asked to comment on Romania's difficulty with its credibility stained by some Romanian criminal abroad, in Italy in particular, Hans-Gert Pottering outlines that criminals and their activities are not one and the same thing with a nation's image. Romania's culture is great indeed, he notices, and it can't possibly be equated to some criminals' action. But Romanian authorities should anyway try to prevent criminals or people likely to get involved in such activities from leaving the country to get involved in such action abroad.

When asked to send a message to the Romanian electorate, now disappointed and skeptic about the benefits emerging from the accession to the EU, Hans-Gert Pottering says Romanians have got all the reasons to be happy that they belong to the EU and the European family. He pleads that Romania's development must be the outcome of Romanians' work and involvement, since it can't come from abroad. The EU official highlights the EU can provide considerable assistance, but the true development can only be the work of Romanians themselves. Therefore the message is that every Romanian should feel responsible and support the building of a democratic system, of healthy social market economy, of efficient and independent Justice. He argues these are the basic principles of the EU that can bring prosperity and high standards of life, if people truly trust them.

Cristian UNTEANU, Brussels
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