For already more than 20 years
has adopted the European way – there is no doubt about that. The declaration
signed on June 21 1995 at Snagov by representatives of all political parties at
that time in Romania,
clearly expressed its intention to support European integration. It was a huge
step on the road to EU accession. 10 years after that, Romania concluded its negotiations
with the EU for membership, concluded before the current crisis.
Over 6 years after entry into the EU - in an EU torn by financial crises and
subsequent political crises – it is hard in Romania to fully comprehend what EU
membership actually means. Romanian citizens are confused about the current
puzzle that Europe represents, far from their
daily reality. The aim of this message is to outline some concrete steps to
develop a European Romania.
To connect a country of over 20 million people to the European Union is very
complex and a difficult achievement. A particular person, a political party or
even state institutions, not one in particular can be blamed for failing to
reach this goal. Paradoxical, the "macro procedure" of the
national-European relationship is mostly a technical algorithm, requiring
multiple expertises in specific sectors (legal, social, business sector, communication,
etc.). The political will is important, but it must be supported by a strong
No doubt there is a problem with the Romanian human resources allocated to this
system of "fine tuning to link Romania to the EU". It is
clear that systemic inertia does not lead to solving current problems that Romania has
with the European Union. There must be a quick, organic intervention, because
current trends are not stopped and corrected. The proposed solution is to launch
a (Romanian) Government program building European expertise on two levels
(national and local).
The persistence of the “top-down” administrative culture in Romania stems
from historical reasons and is still anchored in the collective mindset. This
culture is integrated in people’s characters – decision making is done in the advisory
offices in different ministries, without refining them by consulting the
stakeholders. The risk is that they are not shared and be challenged by those
whom they are addressed to. Moreover, the lack of consultation makes it
difficult to have European legislation implemented by the beneficiaries whose
expertise and interests have been ignored. It is especially difficult since the
decision was taken in Brussels,
where national interests in various policies are so varied. In conclusion,
formulating national positions with stakeholders (beneficiaries) proves to be
necessary, taking into account the skills, technical knowledge and legitimate sectoral
interests on which to express them before the political decision is taken.
Over 100,000 people are involved in the dynamics of European affairs in Brussels, supported by another
700,000 - especially in capital cities of the member states. There are over 100
events per day in Brussels
focusing on topics such as the future European Union. As an EU member state you
cannot afford to lose track of any of these debates. At each meeting one can set
up initiatives, build upon the interest of participants, eventually resulting in
new rules and procedures, new alliances and ultimately - legislation.
is currently "playing" in the European arena, but its playing field
is uneven, unpredictable and unsustainable. We might not want it, but over 75%
of the legislation in Romania
has its origins in Brussels,
in EU law. This legislation does not necessarily cover the national security,
foreign policy or defense policies. It is mainly about consumers and markets,
air quality, water management and transport. It deserves attention; this Europe of the "small" topics, as decisions in
these policies addresses citizens’ daily life. In some cases the position of Romania
is well founded, while in others our country positioning is at best
circumstantial, if not carrying out a policy reminiscent of the "empty
I find it hard not to point out that to develop and sustain the country's EU
connection we need about 5,000 Romanian representatives in Brussels
and 25,000 people in Romania
actually involved in the Community Mechanism. We currently have only about
2,000 in Brussels and 10,000 in Bucharest (especially in
the public sector).
Where can Romania
find help to do better in the EU? What additional training should a national
expert in European affairs have? It is a paradox, but Romania has
about 25 European Studies Faculties and 95% of graduates do not find a job
related to their studies. Is it enough to study at such faculties in order to
have the perfect resume as EU expert? Even though it is important to understand
the Community institutional system, there are many other qualities that you
must have as well.
What do we, Romanians, lack in order to do better at the European level? Romania is in
the EU but we feel that is not enough - it seems something is missing and the "picture"
does not come out perfect. We are competitive, but it takes a more pragmatic
approach, both individually and in the structure of the Romanian education. We
lack the practical side. I want to underline the importance of non-formal education
in this context. Romanian formal education is currently not sufficient in the
sphere of European competitiveness.
Someone recently suggested that it might not be bad to think about introducing
the subject ‘European culture and civilization’ to the curriculum of high
schools. Something very practical, not content dry and full of statistics.
Teaching courses on what European citizenship means, and what rights and
obligations the European citizen has what opportunities we have as Romanian in Europe. And the exercise of Europeanization and internationalization
should be continued also in higher education. Foreign teachers must become a normality
in all universities and masters could possibly take place in international
accustom young Romanians to globalization.
Romanian civil society has a fantastic potential, certainly within the EU, but there
must be a coherent structure, articulated, which may propose projects with huge
impact. It is strategic to have as many such networks in Romania as
possible and not only in the country's capital. There should be structural
support to the activities of the non-governmental sector in Romania.
I cannot draw attention to those who represent Romania in the European policy
making process, especially MEPs. You first called to integrate Romania into
the European Union, and not with a message often heard from populist or anti-European
oriented politicians. Romania
and the EU are not two systems, rather it is only one: a European Romania. You
are the missionaries educating the Romanian people to engage in European
affairs and possibly to have an opinion on technical details. You are asked to
debate in the European forum. You can double the debates on the same issues by
organising public hearings, like those in the European Parliament, involving
Romanian stakeholders. These debates should be hold in Romanian, in multiple Romanian
cities, involving local experts from all sectors. Bring Europe
to the “Romanian streets” and then the press, so beloved to politicians, will
certainly look for interviews with you on the first page.
Romanian state institutions and structures should be helped by complementary
mechanisms. About 100 representatives at the Permanent Representation of
Romania to the EU can not do miracles with the mountains of technical documents
from the European system. "Powerful filters" are built, involving
hundreds of Romanian officials from the European Commission, who arrived there
because their country's EU membership, and representing the Union
now. It can strengthen the association of Brussels European Romanians, making
it more functional, with the support of at least one Romanian think tank
located in the European capital.
I do not think that political polarization, artificial segmentation or certain
barriers between Romania and
the Romanians abroad help the macro project that became reality with the entry
into the EU.
But I do believe in the ability of the Romanian people to think and act
wants to be European!
Dan LUCA / Brussels