May 13, 2013
In the last three years I have visited Warsaw regularly. It is interesting to follow the evolution of this country and its connection to the mechanism of the European Union.
In Poland, the leaders of the institutions, corporations, unions, media, NGOs and think-tanks are concerned and discuss topics such as the euro in 2016, the impact of the EU budget to the cohesion policy 2014-2020, and renewable energy. One of the main topics of debate is climate change in the context of energy, especially since the United Nations will host a conference on the topic in Poland this November (2013).
Poland positions itself perfectly as a regional leader – pro-European. The country is connected to the European debate, wanting to confirm its status as a “great EU country”, joining Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.
Perhaps the chance to hold the “EU Presidency” motivated Poland as a state to gather the best Polish policymakers. The Polish mandate highlighted the potential of the country, and now, in the post-EU Presidency period, the Poles are happy to take their credit that their current position in the EU is so favorable.
For Poland image matters – even the national political atmosphere takes place in perfect calm, reminding people of the Nordic countries. Added to this is the seriousness with which the Polish politicians treat the impact of European legislation on their lives.
Poland was noticeable in recent years, as they managed to “dodge” the crisis and avoid recession.
Correlating this with what happened in Romania over the last years, I cannot help but to insist on the development of the Romanian-Polish partnership, based on substansive similarities between the two countries. Today, Poland is the sixth state by population in the European Union, and Romania is in seventh place.
Most issues that Poland put on the EU agenda are of great interest to us too. We have a symmetry of interests with Poland – our concern for the Baltic and Eastern neighborhood, the need for stability in the Black Sea region.
I insist that we must expand our cooperation on “small topics”. Chemical, food, building materials, manufacturing of light metal packaging, transport, tourism, energy are just some of the focus areas that we can associate to an effective lobby in Brussels, given the figures on economic cooperation between the two countries. Renowned Polish companies have made significant investments in Romania. However, in terms of Romanian involvement in the Polish economy, the balance is not favorable.
This spring, the Romanian Minister of Transport was seen with the Ambassador of Poland in Bucharest, during the visit they discussed the possible cooperation between Romania and Poland for the development of rail corridors. At the same meeting they reiterated the positions of mutual support which the two countries expressed to the European Commission.
Regarding the future of its position in the EU, Poland does not want to be at the “periphery of European integration” but at its heart, Piotr Serafin, Secretary of State for European Affairs, said recently, showing that Polish leaders are interested in collaboration with European institutions.
In 2013 we celebrate the 20th anniversary of signing the “Treaty on friendly relations and cooperation between Romania and the Republic of Poland.” The event organized for this occasion underlined the “common interests of our countries, both in Europe and internationally. Moreover, we accelerated bilateral cooperation based on the fact that we have a similar geographical situation and are part of the external border of the EU and NATO in Eastern Europe. We have many common interests that require a more intensive political dialogue and we must do everything to achieve the objectives we have set. We need to better coordinate EU (…), we must have a position with regard to EU enlargement, and we have common interests related to the concept of energy security.”
If Romania wants to play a bigger role in the European Union, first of all you have to properly analyze your options and capitalize on opportunities. Poland played a “jolly joker” role in the European arena: it’s a Visegrad group member, relying on Central Europe, but is also in league with large countries. Basically, Warsaw wants to show Europe that it is a big country, and it is indeed the 6th country in the Union.
So I would like to see that Romania reaches the same level as Poland in a few years, as Romanian’s Prime Minister Ponta wishes as well!