18:01    |    05/02/2012

Five years as EU member

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Five years have passed since Romania joined the European Union. The New Year’s Eve of 2007 was a moment of great expectations. Thousands of Romanians were witnessing the celebrations downtown Bucharest with live concerts and fireworks.

On Thursday the foreign ministry organized a round table dedicated to the five years that passed since 2007. It was a moment that couldn’t be missed by president Traian Basescu and PM Emil Boc.

President Basescu got hooked on the opportunity to do his round… As usually he felt the need to review the accomplishments and the failures, to tell us the only way is further integration within EU and to lash at the opposition and at The Netherlands.

The Netherlands is the one responsible for Romania’s failure to join the Schengen area. This is the president’s view. It’s true The Netherlands is blocking the accession, but it may have its reasons. Internal ones – related to the government’s support, and external one – related to the fact that Romania and Bulgaria are regarded as countries devoured by corruption. Which is not that far from the real situation. On the other hand, making out of The Netherlands some kind of national enemy is far from being productive as well as realistic, having in view we’re aiming at a United States of Europe (Mr. Basescu said it himself).

Lashing out at the opposition parties is routine for the head of state. He takes every opportunity to reveal to Romanians that Snow White is ruling Romania while Frankenstein is waiting around the corner. This time he seemed the need to throw on the opposition’s shoulders the failures. “The inconsistency of Romanian politicians costs us dearly and had discredited Romania through statements like setting up or dissolving the National Integrity Agency (ANI) or the National Anti-corruption Department (DNA), this was paid heavily during the last five years,” Basescu said.

As far as I remember Mr. Basescu won the presidential elections for the first time in 2004 and the second time in 2009. So he is president for no less than seven years. He had the power levers, not somebody else. The more that since 2008 his democrat-liberals won (with his help) the general elections and have been in power ever-since. Is it the opposition to blame for some statements or the current power that has proved unable to use European funds, to modernize state institutions and so on?

Mr. Basescu further said he would remain a partner with Mr. Boc. Romania needs state institutions’ modernization (! – now?) and stability. Meaning – let me translate – the current government should stay in place until November when the general elections are scheduled. So, you the opposition, shut up and let us rule! This is the message sent by Traian Basescu after weeks of street protests demanding Basescu’s and Bocs resignations.

For the average Romanian the benefits of EU accession are slim. Maybe Romania as a state has won more than we have as individuals. What’s certain is the EU policies have served tremendously the executive. Unable to make economy more productive and efficient, the state is basing more and more on taxes and excises paid by the ordinary people. Just according to EU rules excises for fuel, cigarettes and alcohol have reached unexpected heights. This led to the abnormal fact that gasoline is more expensive in Romania than in Germany, while salaries are less than one fourth. This is what we’ve achieved during the latest five years. The rest is just talk.