How to connect a country to the European and international structures? One must ensure excellent representation by those who are part of the "shuttle diplomacy", like ministers, secretaries of state, heads of agencies etc., but also to make sure you have excellent experts in working groups and officials in the international institutions. With this in mind, Romania has not lived up to its potential since 1989, but there is a noticeable revival in recent years, especially with regards to the Brussels-Luxembourg-Strasbourg axis of European institutions.
What can be done with "shuttle diplomacy"? Much can be done in the political context. It is mainly important to understand the idea of the counsel and to allow the development of a coherent country vision. The rest calls upon ones networking and negotiation skills, defending the national interest by combining a defensive strategy with necessary compromises to achieve a majority in an assembly with complex geometrical interests. This requires much progress, which can only come from public pressure for a performance at the best quality.
What can be done with the group of experts that come to visit the working groups? Firstly, the Romanians who are already on site should be involved in building the "understanding of the institutions". They can provide valuable information on institutional traditions, the negotiation limits: it is often the case that delegates are either too bold or too passive, and almost always extremes are not appreciated in the international bureaucratic apparatus.
In the first two cases where we can speak of "national" delegates, increasingly present in the international institutions, we speak of Romanians who arrived on personal effort, based on tough selection procedures. They are rightly proud of their work. As many people do not get there based on national reference(s), it is important that in their case the Romanian institutions reach out to stimulate the creation of a genuine international Romanian network or organization. This should stimulate the flow of information. If we look at other nations, we see that they also do their best to promote their people in international institutions. This becomes even more important when you keep in mind that for higher positions one almost always needs a national recommendation, regardless how good you are as a technocrat. So in the end it is a win-win situation.
Meanwhile, for Romania and Romanians: a bon entendeur salut!
Dan LUCA / Brussels