December 17, 2014
From a European viewpoint…
2014 delivered on its promise of a full and exciting year at the European level: parliamentary elections in May, and the new Commission which took office this fall.
This new beginning has come not only with new members in these institutions, but with a desire to increase the legitimacy and effectiveness of EU policy making. The new European executive body operates based on this mandate in a new formula, reorganized on the principle of clusters. Vice-presidents have been assigned greater responsibility, but the one Commissioner per Member State principle is still kept, despite debates to reduce their numbers.
The Juncker Commission concludes a decade of government by Barroso, the former president. This decade is a period in which the European Union has doubled its number of members to 28 states, 13 more than in 2004, and a Euro-zone which withstood the crisis and is even expanding. “The continent remains united and open, and is now stronger and more able to cope with globalization” concluded Barroso at the end of his years as head of the Commission.
The European elections also introduced something new: there have been primary elections nominating candidates for the presidency of the European Commission. It was intended as a method of selection as well as a promotion of our leaders at community level to be achieved through an internal campaign, providing “human faces”. Televised debates were organized for the first time in EU history.
Britain was the attention of Europe through its referendum in Scotland. But Scottish citizens said ‘no’ to independence from Great Britain.
It is necessary to mention the political strength for the year 2014 as well, notably the strong cooling of EU relations with its eastern neighbour, Russia. The impact was felt not only in the field of energy, but also in other areas, such as trade.
From Romanian point of view…
The year 2014 started with “anxious” nationalists looking at the discussion of free access of Romanians (and Bulgarians) to the labour market in EU countries. This is to be settled in the coming months, but still the year ends with the same discussions, focused on limiting the number of emigrants.
In other news, Romania remains outside the Schengen area, the discussion will not be repeated before next spring.
A major national event was of course the presidential election and the appointment of the new president for the next five years.