Romania: EU’s vigilance doesn’t please everyone
16 July 2012
Jurnalul Naţional, Adevărul
Is the shadow of Brussels beneficial or not to a country's democracy? In the midst of the debate on the dismissal of Romanian President Traian Băsescu, the Romanian press is divided on the issue, demonstrating a certain ambivalence towards the European Union.
Following a meeting on July 12 with Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, announced that the Commission will keep a close watch on the July 29 referendum to dismiss Băsescu. The EU has also asked that the powers of the Constitutional Court be restored and that the independence of the judiciary be respected. On July 18, the EU will publish the next semi-annual Report on the Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification for Romania and Bulgaria (CMV). Given the context, it is expected to further delay the country's admittance to the Schengen Area. In Brussels, "Victor Ponta took the ultimatums as a slap in the face," reports daily Adevărul, saying that "Europe does not believe in coup d'états!"
Another daily, close to the Prime Minister, Jurnalul Naţional, publishes a list of questions on the role of the EU. "Where was Europe: when Traian Băsescu usurped the role of the government and slashed the salaries of civil servants; when he delayed the appointment of the Netherlands ambassador to Bucharest; when he announced austerity measures without government approval, etc?" The paper also publishes a portrait of José Manuel Barroso, painting him as a "young communist who succeeded in governing Europe," and even broadcasts a video called "Manuel Barroso, the Communist" –
The current President of the European Commission made a name for himself through anti-capitalistic slogans and by confiscating the furniture at the University Law School [in Lisbon]. The young Maoist of yesteryear supported the invasion of Iraq and is responsible for slashing public spending.
"Welcome to Europe," says for its part a leader article in Adevărul, arguing that Romania needs "European solidarity" –
Romania has just got some good news. It is just too bad that European leaders did not act sooner. For example, when emergency decrees became the rule of a government by force, or when President Traian Băsescu told magistrates how they should operate so as not to impede the government. Or when the same president dropped in on the Constitutional Court just before certain key decisions were handed down. If Europe had acted, perhaps we would not be where we are now. [...] European leaders want to ensure that the euphoria of a victory in the referendum will not lead those in power into taking advantage of their dominant position. Interim President Crin Antonescu can rest easy, such an intervention would not harm the country! [...] On the contrary, because the Byzantine politics of Romania are exasperating, helping the country to install a new political scene, rather than punishing it, would be an attractive way to exercise soft power.