Earlier this year I launched a series of Romanian debates about the future of the EU. Where does Romania stand in the debate about the future of European institutions; what will a new possible new EU treaty mean for Romania as a member state? The first public debate was held on 15 February 2013, in Cluj, in the Faculty of European Studies and a few days ago we met again for the second debate of the series – this time at the European Parliament in Brussels.
I want to thank those who added value to the debate on 27 May 2013, for making it a meaningful discussion, for trying to find answers to questions like: why Romania should have an opinion about the future of the European institutions; political will is necessary, but should it be a substitute for the technical component; how do we start a real debate in Romania about the country’s capacity to influence European policy?
Thanks to Ciprian Tanasescu, MEP; to the rector of SNSPA, Bargaoanu Alina; to Diana Iancu, Dean at SNSPA; to the Dean of the Faculty of European Studies in Cluj, Nicolae Paun; to Radu Radoi from GrupRomania Brussels; and to Dana Popp Club “Romania – EU ” Brussels, who all made my mission to moderate the debate very easy.
The main conclusions of the debate in Brussels:
History has taught us that any structure begins to self-destruct when it becomes useless, and such structures become useless when you cannot tackle new problems. Sooner or later the EU and its institutions will come up with answers to today’s problems, which in turn will generate new questions.
Romania’s profile must be highlighted and advocated in the EU, like it has already been done in NATO. Consistency and predictability is what Romania needs regarding to the work in the EU. To achieve these objectives academic input is needed; it’s time to involve Romanian stakeholders, both those in the country and those in the capital of Europe.
There are two contemporary dynamics: on an EU level, people talk more about the future of the European institutions, while Romania launched a debate on regionalization of the country. It is important to synchronize the debate on regionalization of Romania with the debate on European institutional reform.
The institutional system is too complicated, incomprehensible even for citizens of good faith. Management of a “European symphony” becomes more complex in an equation that does not identify where the Union leadership is. In this context, the principle of subsidiarity must be a core concern of Romania. Is it a nationalized version of the EU or a Europeanized Member State? Today the main challenge is in the political arena.
It is crucial for Romania to establish their bottom lines (minimum and maximum) in the debate about the future of the European institutions. There is a risk that a political hesitation or reluctance will lead to Romania’s self-exclusion from the debate. Romania must take its role seriously!
With the economic crisis, beginning in 2008, the European Commission has come up with measures to resolve the crisis, to respond to the need that EU citizens feel, but unfortunately the main measures only revolve around austerity. From an institutional perspective the EU is facing a challenge, and the future depends on decisions that the European institutions take on behalf of the citizens.
At this meeting in Brussels, I mentioned the importance of Romania’s involvement in debating the European future, especially with the European elections coming up in one year. I floated the idea of expanding “Romanian Consortium for a debate about the future of the European institutions” (Faculty of European Studies Cluj, European Research Institute Cluj, SNSPA Bucharest, GrupRomania Brussels, Club “Romania-EU” Brussels, “House of Europe” Cluj) to the Romanian Government. The purpose of this working group is to prepare a conference in October 2013 in Bucharest, where the country’s Prime Minister is invited to present the “Romanian opinion about the EU’s institutions”.