The reality of the “future of the European Union” is closer than we think. We live in a fast-paced time, one of the crisis, one where you have no time to stand still and think about which direction to go. One has to make decisions quickly, trying to harmonize European interests and public opinion at the national level in each Member State.
First, the Eurozone must survive and prosper; otherwise the European construction is likely to collapse. The economy is a key factor in maintaining public confidence in a time where citizens begin to increasingly move towards new populist parties. After that the political and social foundations can recover, and finally the purpose of the project: United States of Europe.
Romania has a role to play in the debate on the future of the European Union. Romania is not yet in the Eurozone, and needs to think seriously about how to meet the criteria as soon as possible. However, taking into consideration the size of our country and population, we will reach the powerful positioning we aspire, as long as we play our cards right. This does mean we need a top team for the European Parliament elections in May 2014, a good position in the new European Commission and ongoing dialogue with European partners in order to set an ambitious agenda for the Romanian Presidency of the EU in 2019.
Romania may far exceed the phase of "alignment with consensus" in the debate on the future of the EU. Sooner or later, the accelerated structural changes that currently occur in Brussels should be contained in a new treaty. Internal debates on the future of the EU have taken place and I had the honor to participate in them in Cluj, in February 2013, and in Brussels, in May 2013. But there's always room for improvement, and it's important to stay alert in the European game, and to place ourselves at the forefront of where we can truly be influential.
Our influence in Brussels will be a combination of internal strength (Titulescu rightly said that if you want a strong foreign policy, you must be strong internally); Romanian consolidation in European Affairs (the "axis" Bucharest-Brussels, as well as bringing together the Romanian and other key European capitals); and the creation of Romanian “idea factories” for the future of the European Union.
If Romania is able to contribute to an enhanced narrative for the European Union, it will be well respected by European partners, and will succeed through its proactive attitude. We are part of the decision making process in Brussels and should behave as such: accountable, predictable, and seriously. We especially need to keep up with internal European trends that speak of regionalization or other processes.
Dan LUCA / Brussels
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