Improving the policy relationship with Brussels is not only be effective through foreign policy and diplomacy, it needs an outstanding performance of our domestic policy. You cannot have a comprehensive foreign policy unless you have a consolidated country with strong economy. President of European Employers Association (BusinessEurope), German Jürgen Thumann, (not coincidentally) presented recently: "If we want to get the EU back on track, there must be a reindustrialization of the Union. Industry is at the heart of the economy”. You have to understand that foreign policy with Brussels is not just diplomacy, and I think a breakdown of this topic is timely.
Firstly, it's hard to make a great foreign policy to influence industrial cases in Brussels, if there isn’t much industry... It is important in this regard achieving a coalition between the capital and Romanian authorities for optimal representation of our interests. It's about “industrial" economic diplomacy, which goes beyond words, that relates the priority to boost trade and investment between countries. “Since the entry of Romania into the European Union...”, as emphasized in his book by the Dutch professor Rinus van Schendelen “Machiavelli in Brussels - The Arts of lobbying the EU”, “...the business landscape of the country in EU after 2004 is very uniform and decentralized. Governments are still in an adolescent phase, and most home lobbyists are heavily dependent on their domestic capital˝.
Secondly, to have a good foreign policy relationship with Brussels we should be useful as an actor: you can be useful if you are a major player in your local market, or if you have influence in relation to other actors - preferably one that Brussels’ main players (Germany, France, United Kingdom) do not have yet. A reactivation of our contacts combined with the sympathy that we enjoy in emerging markets can only help us in dealing with Brussels. Activities are organised (see last meeting of Romanian diplomacy conducted in 27 to 29 August 2013 in Bucharest), but we can be even better. It's in our interest to be as ambitious as we can if we want to increase our bargaining power.
Thirdly, you have to clearly establish a list of permanent allies, whether it is France, Germany, Great Britain and/or others, the list is done to facilitate the coincidence of interests. Surely you can make your way separately from such a list, but we need at least some predictability in the eyes of the partners. For example, we can count on France and Germany in most cases, and in turn Paris and Berlin need to know and that they can count on us in most cases. Exceptions should rarely occur, and only confirm the rule. Milestones in our region could be interesting to the aforementioned partners and they could one day influence events in the region more effectively, through Romania’s relevant position to for example Moldova, Ukraine and the Western Balkans.
Finally we need an optimal “MEP diplomacy”. MEPs are key transmitters in a quality relationship with the European Union beyond the purely legislative activity. There are people who are part of international delegations, de facto diplomats for Romania. Therefore, securing the 2014 elections for the European Parliament is needed. We need more people with expertise not only internal but external. The world is changing rapidly and we have to keep up with it if we want to have success.
Dan LUCA / Brussels
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