January 7, 2013
Looking back at a year marked by interesting developments, we can look ahead to 2013 anticipating lots of exiting new things.
The European economic crisis, which continues in 2013, and its impact will further influence the European construction. A new ‘European Union Treaty’ would increase European integration. Most likely a broad debate on the future of EU institutions and their effectiveness will be launched in 2013, especially because such debates are useful in a pre-election year.
This autumn, European parties shall appoint, after internal procedures more than primary elections, the candidates for the position of President of the European Commission (My predictions: Martin Schulz for the European Socialists, Donald Tusk for the EPP and Guy Verhofstadt for the European Liberals). And the campaigns for the European elections in May 2014 will begin as early as this fall.
September will be marked by the elections in Germany, which will be followed by the European Powers with great interest. It will be very interesting to see if Angela Merkel wins a third term as chancellor.
Medio 2013, Croatia becomes the newest Member of the European Union, which could lead to the appointment of a Croatian Commissioner from July 1, 2013. I already suggested that Croatia could be granted the tourism portfolio, if they desire such an approach.
Turkey, in EU accession negotiations since 2005, will probably resume the offensive after the break occasioned by Cypriot Presidency of the EU – as Turkey does not recognize Cyprus, an EU Member since 2004, it has been boycotting all meetings of the EU summit chaired by Cyprus.
From a Romanian perspective the new government will continue the debate already launched in 2012 on a new constitution, but it will also reinforce Romanian regional development.
I want to welcome the idea of ??having a minister for major projects in the country. In the new Romanian government, the minister for big infrastructure projects and big national and foreign investment projects is now Dan Sova. The government needed to have a person for that. Even before EU accession Spain already had a ministry dealing with matters like this and immediately after accession they went to Brussels and had clear and concrete project proposals.
As I mentioned before, Romania needs better representation in Brussels and the new government is already working on this. Schengen is still a delicate issue, and negotiations continue, but the abolition of restrictions on Romanian labor market (later this year) in European countries that were blocked before will be a great achievement.
As for Romanians abroad, I’m glad our suggestions from Brussels catch the USL coalition, now that Romanian institutions propose to involve the Diaspora more for more efficient management of problems of the Romanian communities abroad. I publicly advocated since 2008 to have a minister responsible for Diaspora. With the present composition of the new Cabinet, Prime Minister Victor Ponta mentions the establishment of a post of Minister for Romanian communities abroad. It is clear that Ponta wants to engage the Diaspora in development. It is important, however, to be pragmatic, a ministry of Diaspora is good, but even more important is the efficiency of this new structure. Minister Cristian David has recently come to Brussels, where he presented several ideas, and I think that those can make the link between the country and those from abroad.