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Monday, October 04, 2004
Business in Romania blog
"I want to be a success of European integration not only a member. I want to be the new Spain of Europe in the next ten, 15, 20 years." said Geoana.

Key to the success of Romania's political transition is the European Commission's October 6, report on the country's progress to EU membership.

Bucharest has made advances to adopt all 31 'chapters' of EU laws but vital work remains unfinished as Romania is given the all-clear for entry.

"The report is absolutely fundamental, it is the key, a green light from the commission is a must," Geoana stresses. "We anticipate a report which will lead in that direction."

Does Romania have a functional market economy or not?

The answer to this question is the best kept secret in Brussels.

The officials of the European Committee are trying to find a formula which, on one hand, should reconcile the reality - the existence of some clues in the economy showing that it is still far from perfect - and, on the other hand, it should be convenient enough so that the possibility of concluding negotiations this year should not compromised by the country report.

Jean Cristophe Filori, the spokesman for the European Committee, said for the BBC that Romania was likely to be declared a functional market economy.

Obtaining this status is extremely important for Romania as without it negotiations will be impossible to be finalized. Unfortunately, nobody can say for sure what the report on Romania will comprise as the words are carefully chosen and introduced into the text at the last minute.

The most difficult area for Romania is also the most politically sensitive - both domestically and internationally.

Bucharest is likely to sign up to an EU membership treaty with required justice reforms still "work in progress".

"Corruption and bureaucracy is, I would say, the underlying political problem of this chapter," the foreign minister says. "It is technically difficult because it copes with the two major liabilities of our system: a weak public administration and a judiciary which is under huge stress and in transformation. This is something where we have to show enough progress in order to close [negotiations] but also [to show] enough credible steps that will be taken by Romania between now and 2007."

Reform has meant taking on institutional change at the highest levels of Romanian society.

A new "Spanish-style" National Anti-Corruption Prosecutors office - set up in 2002 - has acted on 3500 cases.

Legislation passed this June is rebuilding the Romanian judiciary - again with outside advice, especially from the UK. Increased salaries, judicial independence from the government and fast-track specialised courts are all planned for the next two years.

Romania has closed negotiations on two out five outstanding areas of European legislation ahead of an expected all-clear for Bucharest's EU membership on October 6.
EU-hopefuls must show progress on implementing 31 policy 'chapters' of Europe's 97,000 page rulebook of laws ahead of joining the European club.

Posted by Iulia Rasoiu : 10/04/2004 04:41:00 pm Romania is aiming to be the "new Spain" as Bucharest prepares for EU membership
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