luni, 30 martie 2015

The programme "Experts for a European Romania" takes shape

We talk a lot about how Brussels affects us, however when we hear stories about the hassle of the European system and Romania we should try to understand the causes. I do not refer at absorbing sufficient EU funds or not, I am talking about that feeling of belonging, that feeling of being connected to a real community environment.

It is said that 75% of Romanian law "comes from Brussels". Well, ladies and gentlemen, that’s a lot! But do we really care what laws (and indirectly lives) we have in the supranational structure that is the (rather integrated) European Union? It creates a big distance when we use terms such as "us and them". We are together, whether you want it or not, and we must suffer the consequences (including positive ones as well). Don’t you think it doesn’t make sense as well, and that time is pressing us to get involved? And I do not mean Romanian MEPs, or the Romanian government, but I am referring to us ordinary people, whether they come from business, academia or NGO sector.

Romania doesn’t understand how to allocate sufficient resources to fully understand what EU membership means. The Romanian citizen is also confused by the current EU, which is too far from his or her everyday reality. Aware of the importance of human resources in this mechanism, I actively get involved to outline concrete actions to Romania's European development. Political will is important, but it must be supported by a technical component. Unfortunately we lack expertise.

Undoubtedly, there is a problem in Romania regarding how to allocate human resources and how to finance this project on "calibration of Romania to the European Union". On March 19, 2015, I participated in Bucharest to perhaps the most profound discussion of opportunities to streamline the system of Romania in the EU context. This can be done only by launching a new governmental program, similar to the one launched in 2002 in the pre-accession stage (with the euro-advisers). Through this mechanism we can strengthen our expertise at the ministry level, but also at the local level.

The Romanian Universities have a fantastic potential to provide what is missing to this "project". "We try to be the catalyst of beneficial projects for Romania, and partners are crucial to succeed," stated Vice-rector of SNSPA, Alina Bârgăoanu, at the March event.

I am pleased that the Government is already designing a strategy for Romania's EU Presidency, of 2019. "We'll probably set up a Reflection Group at the Foreign Ministry to prepare the EU Presidency. For us, 2019 is tomorrow", we shared Luminiţa Odobescu - Councillor of State, Prime Minister's Office. And the support of Romanians elected in Brussels is already present as stressed by MEP Ramona Mãnescu: "Brussels is the second pole power in the world and Romania should have a clear strategy on this level."

What’s next? It remains to see how, in practical terms, Romanian institutions, in particular the Government and the Presidential Administration, will involve segments of Romanian society, like business, civil society, academia, in designing a mechanism to prepare and become an effective Romania on the European level. Of course the use of the 2500 Romanians living in Brussels is a priority, but should be managed through clear and realistic procedures. Inertia of the system does not resolve the gap that we have in our country as we are still fine-tuning the European structure.

Dan LUCA / Brussels

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