Image of Romania as member of the European Union in the Polish press.
Since the beginning of the negotiations in 2000 Polish press almost always used to report on Romania next to Bulgaria. Those two countries were supposed to go "a long way" until they would join the EU, as Jedrzej Bielecki from "Rzeczpospolita" wrote. According to the European Commissioner for Enlargement Gunter Verheugen the case of Romania was exceptionally difficult". For the time being nobody thought about its accession. Two years later foreign ministers of Romania and Bulgaria quoted by "Gazeta Wyborcza" held that both countries should join the EU in 2007 (1).
Only in autumn 2003 "GW" wrote about a possible separation of both countries on their way to the community. Sofia was supposed to close only 4 negotiation chapters whereas Bucarest had still 10 chapters open. Romania was not considered by the EU to be a "functioning market economy". As a report of the European Commission said, there was "a chasm between Romanian obligations and its ability to fulfil them". The country was reproached for blocking privatisation, a non regulated job market, corruption and a lack of independence of the justice system (2). Moreover, Romania used to be accused of "exporting children for adoption" and unclear rules of awarding government contracts (3).
Dramatic words for the situation were found by Robert Soltyk in "Gazeta Wyborcza". He wrote about "dark clouds over Romania". In his opinion, the situation was critical and it could not be ruled out that the country would adhere to the EU only next to Croatia. A report of the European Parliament criticized Romania but the spokesman of the EC said that it should have been understood as "an incentive for reforms strengthening the administration, fight against corruption, changes in the judiciary" (4). Bucarest was supposed to close the negotiation chapters concerning liberty of services, competition and state subsidies; energy market; environment protection; protection of frontiers and the judiciary as well as finance control. A pressure of Hungary aiming at an improvement of the treatment of Hungarian minority in Transilvania could have been an additional problem (5).
In the report of the EP following shortcomings were mentioned: lack of an anti-corruption law and an effective fight against this phenomenon, lack of an independently acting judiciary, restricted liberty of media and cases of intimidation of journalists, tortures and inhuman treatment at police stations as well as lacking protection of children. Regarding the last matter, the report pointed out that "European institutions and politicians had been cheated (by the Romanian part) as far as children able to be adopted are concerned". British MEP Emma Nicholson, who had been author of the report, said that Romania could not count on the accession in 2007 without crucial reforms (6).
Robert Soltyk took note of the Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase who assured the President of the European Commission Romano Prodi to accelerate the reform pace. Prodi in turn warned his interlocutor of a possibility of returning the received 42 million euro funds as a consequence of corruption, "which in Romania is a serious problem reaching the tops of power". Soltyk wrote about recent dismissals due to corruption charges of the Secretary General of the Government Serban Mihailescu, the Health Minister Mircea Beuran and the Minister for European Integration Hildegard Puwak (7).
A foreseen reconstruction of Nastase's cabinet was described by "Gazeta Wyborcza" in March 2004. The PM's response to accusations of "a lack of reforming zeal" was the creation of three "super-ministries" responsible for fields in which urgent reforms were needed (8).
An improvement of the situation took place at the end of 2004. According to "Gazeta Wyborcza" Romania was supposed to receive from the EU in the years 2007-2009 circa 560 million euro in order to boost its budget and to improve border protection. Competition policy and internal affairs were chapters left to be negotiated (9). Finally, in December 2004 Romania closed its accession negotiations. Jedrzej Bielecki wrote in "Rzeczpospolita" that Bucarest would not participate in negotiations on the EU budget 2007-2013. They were supposed to end before the Romanian entry. Moreover, Romanians had to accept limited sums of financial support in the first three years of their membership. A quoted Romanian diplomat told that "a model for Brussels were the conditions of the Polish accession". Romania had to accept nearly all the points, like a 7 years long transitional period concerning the right to work in the old member states as well as a 10 years long transitional period in agriculture. Romanian farmers were supposed to receive at the beginning 25% of the Western European subsidies level (10).
Ratification process of the accession treaty
Bucarest's problems did not end with the completion of all negotiation chapters. In the second half of 2005 information appeared about a possible delay of the accession of Romania and Bulgaria. "GW" wrote that according to the EC both countries were still not ready to enter the community. Olli Rehn, the Commissioner for Enlargement quoted by the newspaper, held that they had "particular problems with management of EU funds (especially those concerning agriculture), veterinary services, organised criminality and corruption". In spite of numerous well known corruption cases in Romania in the last years, not even one sentence had been passed. What was more, the author of the article Konrad Niklewicz pointed out a quite unfavourable attitude of the European Parliament towards the new enlargement. That was "a bad token" (11). Moreover, "Rzeczpospolita" mentioned an appeal launched by Amnesty International that accused Romania and Bulgaria of breaking human rights. Disabled people and members of Roma minority were allegedly affected by aggressive actions of the police. The organisation wanted a restriction of right of the police to use force as well as a controlling system in psychiatric hospitals (12).
In 2006 Anna Slojewska noticed in "Rzeczpospolita" that for the first time Romania had been ranked by the EU higher than Bulgaria. "The European Commission has praised Bucarest for the first investigation of corruption at the highest level and for legislation aiming at the creation of an independent and effective judiciary". There was still a problem of "slave trade". On the other hand, any economic shortcomings could not prevent the accession but they could lead to the imposition of the so called protection clauses. For example the EU could have stopped importing Romanian food in case it would not fulfil sanitary standards. Also agriculture subsidies could have been suspended if there had not been created an IT system making their distribution possible (13).
An interesting opinion was expressed by Dominika Cosic in "Wprost" in April 2006. In her view a possible delay of Romanian and Bulgarian accession would not have been only a consequence of problems with corruption, a retarded agriculture and human rights. In fact, EU politicians strove to trigger a psychological effect and "to soften" the attitude of both countries. Cosic thought that "led by the nose" Romania and Bulgaria would not enter the common agriculture policy of the EU (14). Also Konrad Niklewicz from "GW" wrote that the European Commission tried not to settle the question of the accession date (15). Anyway, the PM of Luxembourg declared that Romania and Bulgaria would join the EU on January 1st, 2007 and not a year later (16). In Niklewicz's opinion the EU was bound to accept finally the entry of both countries despite standing news about "gangster wars, dishonest clerks and administrative disorder" (17).
In May 2006 a new report of the EC was published. As a condition for the accession, both countries were obliged to finish the implementation of the EU law as well as to boost their fight against corruption and organised criminality. If they had not accelerated reforms, they could have entered the EU only in 2008. In the opinion of Niklewicz, the report could have been understood in two ways. Politicians unfavourable to the enlargement could have been glad with the delay of decision. Others could have been satisfied that the European Commission had given Romanians and Bulgarians "a conditional but anyway green light". The author noticed that the report had been supported by the majority of members of the European Parliament, especially those from new EU member states (18).
In September 2006 the EC finally recommended Romania and Bulgaria for the EU accession. Konrad Niklewicz wrote in "Gazeta Wyborcza" about "a political decision". It was supposed to be the last enlargement of the EU in the decade (19). The journalist noticed that the decision had been taken after "many months of quarrels, pressure and warnings". In his view the EC did not hide the fact that both countries were badly prepared for the accession. They did not manage to fight against corruption effectively, to assure food security and to spend EU funds in a right way. Therefore, the EC had imposed on them a record number of "controlling mechanisms" and "security clauses". They allowed the EU to apply sanctions in case Romania and Bulgaria could not finish their reforms (20).
As Niklewicz wrote, Romania had been obliged to increase the number of anti-corruption investigations and to create a special government agency in order to examine politicians' fortunes. Otherwise, the EU countries were allowed not to respect Romanian arrest warrants. Moreover, the work of agencies distributing direct subsidies to farmers was to be examined. The EC could otherwise be entitled to suspend up to 25% of the subsidies. Apart from this, due to some problems with fighting swine diseases in Romania and Bulgaria a ban on exporting meat and some milk products from those countries to the EU markets was to be maintained (21).
Romania's problems with fulfilling EU standards were subject of an interview with Vasile Puscas in "Gazeta Wyborcza" in August 2006. Former Romanian negotiator said that he was not worried about the so called red flags (i.e. weak points) indicated by the EC. He was rather concerned about the fact that Romania had not learned from Poland's and other countries' mistakes and it had not worked out "a real European policy after joining the EU" (22).
Furthermore, Puscas spoke about the necessity of implementation of all the changes, especially about new legislation and a reform of the judiciary. Effectiveness rules were of paramount importance. Puscas complained about problems with substitution of old personnel in the judiciary, too. In his opinion Romania would not have been able to fulfil all the EU membership criteria without an effective administration and judiciary system (23).
Apart from this, Puscas pointed out the need to boost competitiveness of the Romanian economy as well as to introduce changes in the agriculture. Questions of property were to be sorted out and the structure of production was to be changed. About 40% of the population lived in agricultural areas but the income of this branch made out only 10-12% of the GDP (24).
Puscas did not agree with the opinion that Romania and Bulgaria were bound to be third category members of the EU (the second category were allegedly Poland and other countries that joined the community in 2004). In his opinion, the old member states took advantage of the enlargement. The so called new Europe had been bringing a new dynamism into the EU (25).
After it had signed its accession treaty, Romania had to face some serious problems concerning its future membership. In January 2005 "Gazeta Wyborcza" wrote about a request of the EU to stop subsidising Romanian steel industry. That would have led to a cancellation of much more than 8,5 thousand jobs until 2008. In Romanian steel factories there used to work about 52 thousand people. Although subsidies for steel industry were "almost totally forbidden", Romania did not want to stop them. The EC remained intransigent in the matter (26). Later on, there h has not appeared any more information on this matter in Polish press.
Another controversy have been alleged CIA prisons in Romania and Poland. There have been suspicions that in those installations American secret service used to interrogate people suspected of terrorism. In November 2005 "Rzeczpospolita" wrote that a confirmation of those suspicions would lead to the loss of the voting right in the Council of the EU by Romania and Poland. Such a declaration had been made by Franco Frattini, the Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security. In his opinion, keeping secret prisons would have been a breach of the European Convention of Human Rights. The European Commission can intervene in case of breaking the community law. Anyway, Agata Slojewska from "Rzeczpospolita" wrote that depriving member countries of their voting right in the Council would have requested a long procedure (27). Secret CIA prisons in Poland and Romania have been a subject often described by Polish press. Anyway, most attention has been paid to the Polish aspect in the case.
At the end of 2006 "Rzeczpospolita" reported on "slave trade" flourishing in Romania and Bulgaria. In the first nine months of the year about 1400 minor Romanian prostitutes were allegedly sold to the West. According to experts, those data was only "the peak of an iceberg". The numbers of victims of "slave trade" were even to increase after the accession of the country to the EU due to a better access to new markets. Nonetheless, Romanian authorities assured of sealing the borders and fighting the shady business. Also Romanian organisations fighting against "slave trade" declared that state borders were completely secure (28).
In the first months after signing the accession treaties by Romania and Bulgaria hardly any member state ratified them. At the end of 2005 "Rzeczpospolita" wrote that "Europe had forgotten about Romania". Marjorie Jouen from the Notre Europe Foundation told the newspaper that "the atmosphere around candidate states was bad in France, Germany or Italy. It was a consequence of a high unemployment, a weak economy growth and a crisis of EU institutions after the rejection of the Constitutional Treaty". The first three countries that ratified new accession treaties were Hungary (hoping for an improvement of the situation of Hungarian minority in Romania), Slovenia (hoping that the Romanian accession would pave the way to the EU for Croatia) and Slovakia. Charge d'affaires of the Romanian embassy in Warsaw George Istode was unhappy with the fact that Poland had not ratified the treaty and Piotr Kaszuba from the Polish foreign ministry admitted that nothing had been done in this respect (29). Only in 2006 the ratification process gained its momentum. The last country to ratify the documents was Germany (30).
Romanian membership in the European Union
After Romania's entry many articles about it have appeared in Polish press. Witold Gadomski in "GW" tried to give some "good advice" to the country. He spoke about "a premature accession", just like in case of Poland, but he foresaw a rapid development of Romania in the next years. In his opinion, in order to avoid mistakes and follow good examples Romanian politicians were supposed to analyze Polish experience (31).
Romania should not have "stopped or slowed down market reforms and consumed fruits of economic growth too fast". It should have fixed a feasible date of accession to the eurozone. That would have helped to keep the right reform pace in the public sphere and to impose a monetary policy favourable for the economy. The most important goal should have been the attraction of European capital and technologies that would modernise the economy. Also a good exploitation of EU funds should have influenced positively an influx of private capital. In this case an effective state machinery was necessary (32).
Moreover, in Gadomski's opinion, benefits from EU funds were to stand in inverse proportion to the corruption level. Thus, removing corruption should have been a priority. There should have been a law that would not enable clerks to take arbitrary decisions. The state should have gradually "withdraw from the economy" and decrease its spending (33). Furthermore, the government was also obliged to create favourable conditions for founding new business activities. That would stop mass emigration of young people (34).
Much attention has been paid by Polish press to the position that Romania was supposed to take in the EU. At the end of 2006 "Rzeczpospolita" wrote that the country would send 54 deputies to the European Parliament. Next to Bulgaria it was the poorest among 27 member states. Until 2013 Romania was supposed to receive from the EU a support of 30 billion euro (35).
The newspaper noticed that "half of the German population does not wish Bulgaria and Romania in the EU". Germany, France, Spain and Great Britain had limited the access to their job market for citizens of new member states (36).
A very negative view on Romanian membership was presented by Dominika Cosic in "Wprost" a couple of months before its accession. The journalist wrote that Romania and Bulgaria would gain "only crumbs" in the EU. The old member states, in turn, were bound to profit from a new 30 million people sales market. New countries would bring stability into the region and a chance for building alternative pipelines--AMBO and PEOB (37). According to Gunter Verheugen, the biggest beneficiaries were to be Germany and Austria that had already controlled some branches of Romanian economy, like banks and chemical industry (38).
Cosic referred also to opinions of EU diplomats concerning benefits for Romania and Bulgaria. First of all, both countries were supposed to gain a "European club card" as well as the access to the common market, a modernisation of the economy and standards equality. In the face of unrests in the former Yugoslavia the membership in the EU and NATO should have been "a cure-all" and a security guarantee for Romania and Bulgaria. Nonetheless, both new member states should also have been prepared for closing many companies due to problems with the fulfilment of EU standards (39).
Another accent being a sign of a marginal position of Romania and Bulgaria in the EU have been the nominations of new European commissioners. Dominika Cosic considered their range of activities as "rather symbolical" (40). Anna Slojewska wrote in "Rzeczpospolita" that they were bound to be "little important". Bucarest was to be represented by the hitherto vice minister for European affairs Leonard Orban. He was to be Commissioner for Multilingualism supervising translators in the EC. In Slojewska's view, there were a couple of reasons for such unimportant posts for Bulgarian and Romanian politicans. "First, their countries do not have such a great political weight in the EU as the current member states. Second, it has not been easy for the president Barroso to take important fields away from current commissioners, because that would be a sign of a loss of confidence to his colleagues". Moreover, the EC maybe had wanted to "punish" Bucarest for an "unserious previous candidature" of Varujan Vosganian, a senator of the liberal party. "Luckily for Brussels" he had been accused of working for Securitate during the Ceausescu regime and the candidature had been withdrawn (41). Later on, no information has appeared in Polish press that the accusation had been groundless.
Cosic held that many EU countries regarded the new enlargement as "a necessary evil, an unpleasant consequence of already signed treaties". A euphoria about the accession was to be seen only in the capitals of Romania and Bulgaria (42). In Cosic's opinion, both countries had been "submissive" during the accession negotiations. Then they showed "a zeal of a neophyte" passing the European Constitution next to the Accession Treaty, although they were not obliged to do it. Despite that, a quoted Belgian diplomat complained that the South-East European countries would "continuously demand money". Although they were to gain relatively the least as new member states, they were perceived as "demanding relatives". What was more, Cosic wrote about Romania's and Bulgaria's problems with Russia, which had imposed a ban on the import of meat from both countries. The fact that the EU did not help them in the dispute was a sign for Bucarest and Sofia that "Brussels would not die for them". Moreover, as new EU citizens had been refused the access to most job markets, Cosic saw Romania and Bulgaria as "EU members of second category" (43).
Anyway, also positive views on Romania's membership used to appear in Polish press. In November 2006 Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, the then foreign minister of the country, told "Gazeta Wyborcza" that Romania would be able to become "a European tiger". In the next years its GDP growth would amount to 5-6% being based on export and investments. As Ungureanu noticed, Romania had been gaining up to 7 billion euro foreign investments each year. In 2006 they should have amounted to 9 billion euro (44).
As far as the order of powers in the European Union is concerned, the accession of Romania and Bulgaria "was not a revolution". Anyway, they were able to influence some changes. As Cosic remarked in her article, Romania used to have traditionally good relations with France, which had been its "advocate" on the way into the community, as well as with Italy. Moreover, Bucarest used to be very pro-American. Cosic pointed out the possibility of the establishment of a Polish-Romanian coalition, which would date back to the interwar period (45). Furthermore, Romania and Bulgaria as "the Balkan pillar of the EU" were supposed to play a stabilizing role in the region, especially in the face of the Transnistrian conflict, in which Moldova had been "a hostage of the situation terrorised by Russia". In case of an armed conflict the South Eastern border of the EU would be endangered. That is why Romania and Bulgaria should be able to increase chances for peace (46).
Polish-Romanian duet in the European Union
The accession of Romania to the EU has been often analyzed from the perspective of Polish foreign policy. Jedrzej Bielecki in "Rzeczpospolita" wrote about Romania as "Poland's serious competitor in the struggle for funds, foreign investments and customers buying laborious goods". Romania had reached only 30% of the average development level of the EU whereas the Polish rate was 46%. Thus, Bucarest needed European funds much more than Warsaw. Their quantity was limited, though. Germany and France firmly refused to increase the amounts. In a long run Romania and Poland would have to share the funds (47).
Moreover, both countries would have to compete for sales markets in the EU. Polish and Romanian agriculture sectors often used to be compared. Production of vegetables, fruits and milk products were specialities of both of them. Romania possesses fertile grounds and a favourable climate. From 2007 customs duties were to be cancelled and Romanian farmers were to receive subsidies. That would have improved the situation of Romanian agriculture. Also the export of industry products was supposed to be an area of competition. Although Romanian companies were still at the beginning of their restructuring process, they would develop rapidly (48).
In 2006 "Gazeta Wyborcza" published an opinion poll about the EU enlargement. According to its results Poles supported the membership of Croatia and Ukraine more than the accession of Romania and Bulgaria. Surprisingly, young people were the most sceptical group. 37% of 20 years old Poles were against Romania and Turkey in the EU (49).
Nevertheless, most often Polish press used to write about Romania as an ally in the EU rather than a competitor. The Member of European Parliament Jacek Saryusz-Wolski quoted by "Gazeta Wyborcza" held that Romania's accession would boost the potential of new member states (50). According to the Polish ambassador in Bucarest Jacek Paliszewski "Romania could be our political ally. It is pro-American, it strives for the integration of Ukraine into the EU. There are also economic aspects. In one year our volume of trade increased from one billion to 1,5 billion and our export has been much higher than the import" (51).
The ratification of Romanian and Bulgarian accession treaties was passed by the Polish parliament in 2006. Politicians in Warsaw held that Romania and Bulgaria would "pave the way" to the EU for Ukraine. Moreover, they both countries strengthened the group of states aiming at a close alliance with the USA. An economic advantage for Poland was to be the access to new markets. Poland opened also its job market for new EU citizens, although it could have applied a 7 years transitional period (52). Anyway, as minister Ungureanu said, Poland should not have worried about a great influx of Romanian labour force. Romanians willing to exit their country had already chosen Portugal, Italy, Greece and other South European countries. According to statistics 1,5 million people had left Romania in the last years (53).
Dominika Cosic wrote that Poland and Romania would be in the worst case "the hard core of a veto coalition" in the EU. Bucarest could be "Warsaw's precious ally" in important matters, such as the EU budget or liberalization of job and service market (54). Apart from this, Romania, Poland and the Baltic states could speak one voice as far as Eastern Policy and energy policy are concerned. According to Cosic, a Polish-Romanian coalition would work only under the condition that Bucarest would get rid of its "syndrome of a neophyte". It should have left its "reasonable pro-European policy" and join "the rebels group" (55).
Energy policy was a subject of the aforementioned interview with minister Ungureanu in 2006. He said that a diversification of oil and gas supplies lied in Polish and Romanian interest, although Romania was not as dependent on Russian resources as Poland was. Bucarest used nuclear power, coal and gas approximately by one third each. Furthermore, if such projects as the Nabucco and the Pan-European Oil Pipeline were realised, Romania could become the most important transit country for alternative gas and oil supplies from Caspian Sea to Europe (56).
Romania's problems within the EU
One of the problems that Polish press touched on were attitudes unfavourable to the EU accession in the Romanian society. Popular support for the EU integration sank from76% in 2004 to 65% two years later. Fear of the membership could be found especially among rural population. In 2006 the Romanian government launched a campaign worth 12 million euro trying to challenge "myths about the EU" (57).
The EU integration has led to an economic transformation that sometimes directly influenced the life of Romanian citizens. Some days before the official accession date "Rzeczpospolita" wrote that January 1st, 2007 "would be associated with a rise of prices of electricity, gas and fuel". The electricity excise duty would rise by 30%. A litre of gas should cost 2,6 euro instead of 2 euro and the price of one tone of lead-free petrol would rise from 513 to 547 euro (58).
Another problem have been high taxes on used cars imported to Romania. As "Gazeta Wyborcza" wrote, the first registration of such a car would cost up to 8 thousand euro. Therefore in 2007 the European Commission demanded from Bucarest a lowering of the tax. The European Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union Laszlo Kovacs regarded it as discriminatory. The EC was supposed to authorise an expert team to help Romanian authorities to prepare a legislation conforming to the acquis communautaire. Otherwise, Romania would be sued in the European Tribunal of Justice for breaking the Accession Treaty (59).
A reduction of the tax was not in the interest of the Dacia concern owned by the French Renault. It appealed not to change Romania into "Europe's car dump" (60). Representatives of Dacia referred to the case of Poland where the new car sales figures have decreased after the entry to the EU whereas the import of used cars has increased. According to Dacia, "the Polish way" would reduce security on roads and cause additional damages to the environment. New Dacia cars used to emit less carbon dioxide than old imported cars. Moreover, Renault's confidence in Romania would be shaken and further investments would be stopped. A strike of Dacia workers was taken into consideration, too (61). Later on, the matter of the tax on used cars has not been reported on by Polish press.
In March 2007 "GW" wrote about the impact of Romania's internal politics on its EU membership. The Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu had postponed the European Parliament election "due to political quarrels". It had been supposed to take place on May 13. A new date was to be fixed after consultations among political parties. "Gazeta Wyborcza" wrote that a conflict between the Prime Minister and the President Traian Basescu had been "shaking politics" for months (62). As far as the EP is concerned, the deputy George Becali once found his place on the pages of "Rzeczpospolita". The newspaper wrote in 2009 that he would be not allowed to quit the country due to charges of kidnapping ... thieves that wanted to steal his car. Thus, Romania would have one deputy less for the time being (63).
After Romanian accession to the EU many citizens have chosen Italy as their emigration country. Polish press often wrote about "the Italian fear of a Romanian flood". Controversies over Romanians in Italy as well as their positive impact on the economy were not rarely described (64). The matter reached also the European Parliament. In 2007 "Rzeczpospolita" reported on a quarrel inside the political group Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty. Members of the Greater Romania Party left the group as its Italian deputy Alessandra Mussolini called Romanians "notorious criminals". The scandal happened after a member of Roma minority coming from Romania had killed a 47 years old lady in Rome. As a result of the argument, the ITS group in the EP ceased to exist (65). Furthermore, Italian parliament passed a legislation enabling its authorities to deport citizens of other EU member states. The Romanian government, in turn, asked the European Commission to examine the legality of the new Italian law. Romanian foreign minister Adrian Cioroianu quoted by "Gazeta Wyborcza" spoke about the necessity to clear up if it did not break the rule of liberty of movement in the EU (66). Then, during his visit in Rome, Popescu-Tariceanu next to the Italian head of the government Romano Prodi launched an appeal to Brussels asking for help with the integration of immigrants in Italy (67). In 2008 Agnieszka Skieterska in "Gazeta Wyborcza" reported on an information campaign of the Romanian government which aimed at showing Romanians who had been successful as emigrants. The project "Romanians in Europe" was supposed to improve the image of the nation especially in Italy and Spain (68).
In June 2008, as the Italian minister of the interior Roberto Maroni announced the creation of a data base including fingerprints of Roma people living in Italy, the Romanian diplomacy managed to convince the EP to pass a resolution calling the government of Silvio Berlusconi to put off the procedure until the European Commission examines the matter. In a petition to the Italian government 120 MEP's wrote that the planned procedure would break the rules against racial and ethnic discrimination (69).
Another bilateral controversy that affected the EU was a tension between Romania and the Republic of Moldova in 2007. Their relations had been already "delicate" as Romania started to assign its passports to Moldovan citizens. Until March 800 thousand people (out of 4 million inhabitants of Moldova) had applied for a new EU citizenship. According to a Romanian law from 1991 every citizen of Moldova who proves that he/she or their parents had lived on territories belonging to Romania before 1940, is entitled to possess the Romanian citizenship. As "Rzeczpospolita" wrote, the value of Romanian passports had risen after its accession to the EU (70). According to the newspaper president Basescu supported a simplification of the procedure of issuing passports. He also wanted the EU to found an authority in Chisinau that would supervise the awarding of visas to non-EU citizens. There were not only historical reasons for the Romanian interest in Moldova. People from the other side of the river Prut were supposed to fill in the gape in the Romanian labour market that had been growing due to emigration of Romanians to the West (71).
The reaction of the Moldovan authorities was very negative. Since 75%of its population have Romanian roots, it could not have been excluded that the republic could have lost the majority of its citizens. The government in Chisinau accused Romania of abusing its EU membership (72).
Romania in the face of the financial and economic crisis.
The European Union has been directly involved in rescuing the finances of Romania after the outbreak of the crisis. In March 2009 "Gazeta Wyborcza" wrote that Bucarest had negotiated a 20 billion euro loan from international institutions. It included 12,9 billion euro from the International Monetary Fund, 5 billion from the European Union and the rest from the World Bank as well as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Romania has been the third EU member state (after Hungary and Latvia) forced by the situation to ask for financial help (73). Romanian GDP was supposed to shrink by 4% in 2009. As a condition of the agreement with the IMF, Romania had to limit its budget deficit to 5,5% in 2009 and to 3% in 2011 (74). The money lent by the EU would not come from the EU budget. It had to be raised as a loan by the EU in financial markets and then transferred to Romania (75).
Romania's aspirations for the Schengen zone membership
A key aspect of the Romanian foreign policy after the EU accession has been its entry into the Schengen zone. A unanimous decision of all the zone member states was requested. According to Polish press, Germany and France had already opposed it earlier on. Then objections had been raised by Finland. It emphasized the need to improve Romania's record in fighting corruption and criminality. Governments of the opposing countries dismissed Romanian border services as ineffective. According to the French minister for European affairs, Romania and Bulgaria were still an important smuggling route (76). Bucarest and Sofia assured to have fulfilled conditions. They were supported by new member states such as Poland and Hungary (77).
In July 2011 Anna Slojewska wrote in "Rzeczpospolita" that Romania's task was to sue corrupted politicians and judges, confiscate illegally gained possessions and fight organised criminality. The author pointed out that the country, as well as Bulgaria, had been under a special surveillance of the European Commission within the so called cooperation and verification mechanism. That was "a source of shame" for Romania. For the first time member states were subject to a controlling system which had been previously applied only to candidate states. The surveillance was supposed to end in 2012 (78).
Another country that has blocked Romania's way into the Schengen zone was the Netherlands in autumn 2011. The official reason was an insufficient fight against corruption. Then, the Polish EU presidency trying to sort out the problem proposed a plan. In the face of German, French and Dutch objections it foresaw the abolition of passport controls at airports since October 31, 2011. Decision on the abolishment of controls at land borders was to be taken in spring 2012. A similar scenario had been applied as Poland and other Central European countries joined the Schengen zone. Warsaw managed to gain the acceptance of Germany and France. Anyway, the plan has failed in spite of the efforts made in the Hague by the Polish vice minister of the interior Piotr Stachanczyk. In Slojewska's view the Dutch government had been giving in to anti-immigrant emotions. Romania, as a retort, stopped a transport of tulips at its border adducing to a health threat (79).
Finally, the only two countries to stop Romanian accession to the Schengen zone at a session of the European Council in September 2011 were the Netherlands and Finland. According to what the correspondent of "Rzeczpospolita" wrote, the decisions were owed to internal politics. The governments of both countries were dependent on votes of extreme right parties. Therefore they feared of attacks in case they had voted in favour. Nonetheless, the Dutch minister for immigration and asylum Gerd Leers held that the Schengen zone would be exposed to "an influx of organised crime, drugs and weapons as well as slave trade" if it had admitted Romania and Bulgaria. He refused to discuss the matter until progress in the fight against corruption and in reforms of the judiciary system in Romania and Bulgaria would be evidenced (80).
Polish minister of the interior Jerzy Miller quoted by "Rzeczpospolita" has come to "a sad conclusion about the lack of a reciprocal confidence among member states". As Romania and Bulgaria ratified their accession treaties, "they automatically got the promise of admission to the Schengen zone once they fulfil the conditions for abolishing controls at external borders". In Miller's view, those conditions were fulfilled already in April 2011 (81).
An attentive reader of the four analyzed press titles received a lot of information about Romania's EU integration in the years 2000-2011. A dominant topic of articles have been continuous problems which the country had to face. Troubles with the fulfilment of the EU membership criteria, a constant critic by European politicians and then failed attempts to join the Schengen zone have been the usual content of articles concerning Romania.
Anyway, there has been also another image of Romania transmitted simultaneously to Polish press readers: a country with a dynamically developing economy and a young, optimistic and hard working society which strongly supported the EU integration. There have been even some articles encouraging Polish entrepreneurs to invest in Romania.
Few articles have provided profound analyses of Romanian foreign policy. Nevertheless, not rarely a very positive attitude of Poland toward the Romanian accession has been emphasized. A community of interests has been regarded as having a potential of a future alliance within the European Union. Starting with the year 2000 more and more articles about the development of Romania and its future prospects have been appearing. That may be a sign of "a discovering" of Romania by the Polish public opinion.
There have not been any essential differences among the four chosen titles in perceiving and describing Romania. A more negative or more positive tone of the description of Romanian affairs has been a matter of the given journalist and not the political background of the newspaper.
(1) J. Bielecki, Chcq dogonic pierwszq grupq (They want to catch up with the first group), "Rzeczpospolita", 16.02.2000 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita"). JAN, Ue-Rumunia-Bulgaria, "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 286, 9.12.2002, p. 12.
(2) RS, Bufgarskie obawy (Bulgarian fears), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 260, 7.11.2003, p. 10.
(3) AFP, MAR, UE. Bulgaria przed Rumunia? (EU. Bulgaria before Romania?), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 38, 14.02.2004, p. 6.
(4) R. Soityk, Czarne chmury nad Rumunia (Dark clouds over Romania), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 47, 25.02.2004, p. 8.
(8) AFP, MAR, Rumunia. Poprawimy sie! (Romania. We will do better!), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 51, 1.03.2004, p. 11.
(9) R. Soltyk, Rumunia blizej UE (Romania closer to the EU), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 278, 27.11.2004, p. 32.
(10) J. Bielecki, Konkurent do dotacji i rynkow (Competitor for subsidies and markets), "Rzeczpospolita", 10.12.2004 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(11) K. Niklewicz, Bulgaria i Rumunia moga wejsc do UE o rok pozniej (Bulgaria and Romania may enter the EU a year later), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 250, 26.10.2005, p. 10.
(12) A. Slojewska, Potrzebna interwencja z Brukseli (An intervention of Brussel needeD], "Rzeczpospolita", 20.10.2005 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(13) A. Slojewska, Otwarcie na wschodnie Balkany (Opening to the Eastern Balcan), "Rzeczpospolita", 5.04.2006 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(14) D. Cosic, Brukselska piramida finansowa (Brussels" financial pyramiD], "Wprost", No. 16 (2006), 23.04.2006, p. 102-103.
(15) K. Niklewicz, Czy Unia Europejska zamrozi Bulgarie i Rumunie? (Will the European Union freeze Bulgaria and Romania), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 108, 10.05.2006, p. 15.
(16) AS, Bulgaria i Rumunia wejda do Unii w terminie (Bulgaria and Romania will join the EU in time), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 110, 12.05.2006, p. 13.
(17) K. Niklewicz, UE powie "tak" Bulgarii i Rumunii (EU will say "yes" to Bulgaria and Romania), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 112, 15.05.2006, p. 12.
(18) K. Niklewicz, Bulgaria i Rumunia na ostatniej prostej do UE (Bulgaria and Romania on the home straight to the EU), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 114, 17.05.2006, p. 10.
(19) K. Niklewicz, Sofia i Bukareszt dostana zielone swiatlo (Sofia and Bucarest will get a green light), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 224, 25.09.2006, p. 14.
(20) K. Niklewicz, Witamy w Unii Bulgarie i Rumunie (Welcome to the EU for Bulgaria and Romania), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 226, 27.09.2006, p. 10.
(22) A. Skieterska, Europejski finisz Rumunii. Rozmowa z Vasile Puscasem (A European finish of Romania. An interview with Vasile Puscas), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 201, 29.08.2006, p. 10.
(26) NIK, Bronia hut przed Bruksela (They defend steel factories against Brussels), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 11, 14.01.2005, p. 29.
(27) A. Slojewska, Za tajne wiezienia CIA grozi utrata gfosu w Unii Europejskiej (A loss of voting right in the EU threatening for secret CIA prisons), "Rzeczpospolita", 29.11.2005 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(28) KZ, Nieletnie prostytutki z Rumunii i Bulgarii (Minor prostitutes from Romania and Bulgaria), "Rzeczpospolita", 28.12.2008 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(29) J. Bielecki, Europa zapomniala o Rumunii (Europe has forgotten about Romania), "Rzeczpospolita", 11.10.2005, [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(30) Rumunia i Bulgaria jedna noga w Unii Europejskiej (Romania and Bulgaria with one foot in the EU), "Rzeczpospolita", 25.11.2006 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(31) W. Gadomski, Moje dobre rady dla Rumunow i Bulgarow (My good advice to Romanians and Bulgarians), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 1, 2.01.2007, p. 2.
(35) Rumunia i Bulgaria w Unii Europejskiej (Romania and Bulgaria in the European Union), "Rzeczpospolita", 30.12.2006 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(37) D. Cosic, Brukselska piramida finansowa (Brussels" financial pyramiD], "Wprost", No. 16 (2006), 23.04.2006, p. 102-103.
(40) D. Cosic, Unia klasy B (A B-class Union), "Wprost", No. 1 (2007), 7.01.2007, p. 92-95.
(41) A. Slojewska, Niewiele dla nowych w Unii (Not much for the new ones in the EU), "Rzeczpospolita", 3.11.2006 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(42) D. Cosic, Unia klasy B (A B-class Union), "Wprost", No. 1 (2007), 7.01.2007, p. 92-95.
(44) A. Skieterska, Rumunia chce bezpieczenstwa energetycznego Europy. Rozmowa z Mihaiem Razvanem Ungureanu (Romania wants Europe's energy security. An interview with Mihai Razvan Ungureanu), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 265, 14.11.2006, p. 24.
(45) D. Cosic, Unia klasy B (A B-class Union), "Wprost", No. 1 (2007), 7.01.2007, p. 92-95.
(47) J. Bielecki, Konkurent do dotacji i rynkow (Competitor for subsidies and markets), "Rzeczpospolita", 10.12.2004 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(49) AS, PAC, Chcemy w UE tylko tych, ktorych dobrze znamy (We want in the EU only the ones we know gooD], "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 115, 18.05.2006, p. 2.
(50) K. Niklewicz, Bulgaria i Rumunia moga wejsc do UE o rok pozniej (Bulgaria and Romania may enter the EU a year later), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 250, 26.10.2005, p. 10.
(51) J. Bielecki, Europa zapomniala o Rumunii (Europe has forgotten about Romania), "Rzeczpospolita", 11.10.2005, [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(52) J. Bielecki, Tak--dla Rumunii i Bulgarii (Yes to Romania and Bulgaria), "Rzeczpospolita", 28.02.2006 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(53) A. Skieterska, Rumunia chce bezpieczenstwa energetycznego Europy. Rozmowa z Mihaiem Razvanem Ungureanu (Romania wants Europe's energy security. An interview with Mihai Razvan Ungureanu), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 265, 14.11.2006, p. 24.
(54) D. Cosic, Brukselska piramida finansowa (Brussels' financial pyramiD], "Wprost", No. 16 (2006), 23.04.2006, p. 102-103.
(55) D. Cosic, Unia klasy B (A B-class Union), "Wprost", No. 1 (2007), 7.01.2007, p. 92-95.
(56) A. Skieterska, Rumunia chce bezpieczenstwa energetycznego Europy. Rozmowa z Mihaiem Razvanem Ungureanu (Romania wants Europe's energy security. An interview with Mihai Razvan Ungureanu), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 265, 14.11.2006, p. 24.
(57) K. Zuchowicz, Rzqd w Bukareszcie musi walczyc z mitami o Unii (Government in Bucarest has to fight against myths about the EU), "Rzeczpospolita", 30.12.2006 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(58) Rumunia: drozsza energia wraz z Uniq (Romania: more expensive energy along with the EU), "Rzeczpospolita", 30.12.2006 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(59) A. Kublik, Komisja Europejska przeciw rumunskim podatkom od uzywanych aut (European Commission against Romanian tax on used cars), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 49, 27.02.2007, p. 25.
(62) AS, Rumunia. Wybory do europarlamentu pozniej (Romania. Europarliament election later), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 61, 13.03.2007, p. 10.
(63) W. Lorenz, Rumunia traci mandate (Romania loses a mandate), "Rzeczpospolita", 12.06.2009 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(64) P. Kowalczuk, Wfoski lqk przed rumunskim potopem (Italian fear of Romanian flooD], "Rzeczpospolita", 8.02.2007. [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(65) A. Widzyk, Ciety jezyk wnuczki Mussoliniego poroznil europejska skrajna prawice (Sharp tongue of Mussolini's niece to set the European right against each other), "Rzeczpospolita", 10.11.2007 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(66) There. T. Bielecki, Rumunia: Imigrantom niech pomoze Bruksela (Romania. Brussels shall help immigrants), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 264, 12.11.2007, p. 10.
(67) T. Bielecki, Rumunia: Imigrantom niech pomoze Bruksela (Romania. Brussels shall help immigrants), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 264, 12.11.2007, p. 10.
(68) A. Skieterska, Rumunia broni swego imienia za miliony euro (Romania defends its good name for millions of euro), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 161, 11.07.2008, p. 9.
(70) D. Cosic, Unia klasy B (A B-class Union), "Wprost", No. 1 (2007), 7.01.2007, p. 92-95. KZ, AP, Moldawianie w kolejce po unijne paszporty, "Rzeczpospolita", 10.03.2007 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(71) KZ, AP, Moldawianie w kolejce po unijne paszporty (Moldovans queuing for EU passports), "Rzeczpospolita", 10.03.2007 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(73) D. Pszczolkowska, Trzeci kraj Unii na kroplowce (Third EU country on a drip), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 72, 26.03.2009, p. 21.
(76) D. Pszczolkowska, Strefa Schengen nie dla Rumunii i Bulgarii (Schengen zone not for Romania and Bulgaria), "Gazeta Wyborcza", No. 17, 22.01.2011, p. 9.
(78) A. Slojewska, Korupcja przeszkoda w drodze do Schengen (Corruption blocking the way to Schengen), "Rzeczpospolita", 21.07.2011 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(79) A. Slojewska,, Schengen bez Bulgarii i Rumunii (Schengen without Bulgaria and Romania), "Rzeczpospolita", 20.09.2011 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita"). A. Slojewska, Zostana poza Schengen (They will remain outside Schengen), "Rzeczpospolita", 23.09.2011 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
(80) A. Slojewska, Zostana poza Schengen (They will remain outside Schengen), "Rzeczpospolita", 23.09.2011 [From online archive of "Rzeczpospolita").
Uniwersytet Mikolaja Kopernika w Toruniu, Wydzial Politologii i Studiow
Miedzynarodowych, Katedra Historii Stosunkow Micdzynarodowych
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|Title Annotation:||ORIGINAL PAPER|
|Publication:||Revista de Stiinte Politice|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2012|
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