Dear citizen, we are all ordinary people, whether we like it or not. We touch the surface when talking about subjects we know less of, and we can go more in-depth, have a more complex discussion, when it comes to our current professional sector, where we are more comfortable. In European policy, there are many insiders, so the title could easily transform into "links between European policy and Romanians" or "the relationship between the European Union and its citizens".
What I propose in this article, is to find some recipes for better communication of the European project, so that Romanians remain Europhiles and not Eurosceptics like other Europeans.
For Romanians, EU membership has meant first and foremost, in terms of expectations, freedom of movement – resulting in the ability to work in the EU - and bags with European money. If the expectations regarding movement and employment, despite some remaining restrictions, are coming true (at least before the economic crisis), in terms of European money, Romanians went from ecstasy to agony. Indeed, to the disillusionment of many Romanians, European money is "given" on a project basis, and is not shared at the central or local level. Poverty was not a selection criterion, but the need for a design of success that the EU would give was real.
Therefore, if we want to approach European policy for the citizens, it takes pragmatic communication, a realistic and positive attidude. Yes, the EU is a successful project, regardless of the news you hear about the eurozone and our absorption of European funds. Yes, Romania can be a success story - let's get organized. We need a more proactive communication based on realistic opportunities.
Unfortunately, some of the enthusiasm for European affairs got lost and the specialized institutional actors don’t have the passion and energy of those in the past. In 2007, we started with enthusiasm, in 2013 we are tired of caring, and the EU is only a third wheel. However, given that so many things are decided in Brussels (75% of the "national" law), or from the relationship with Brussels (Schengen cooperation and Verification Mechanism on justice, etc.), this must change. The European elections in May 2014 is a chance not to be missed, both in itself and as a perspective: if we allow European businesses go numb, it will be very difficult to revive them when we are at the helm of the EU in 2019.
New pro-European input is imperative for everyone involved so far in European affairs, be it people from Romanian ministries, the Brussels administration or politics, the people who concluded the chapters of EU negotiation, officials who bear the brunt of the European project approval, or politicians. We need more than ever to support the success of an alliance of Romania in European affairs, and I therefore propose to organize the centre and communicate with local people. Let's do it, let’s go beyond negativity, beyond national policy - a hope justified by the European perspective.
Dan LUCA / Brussels