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Romania and the European Union

Stiinte politice

Romania and the European Union

European Union (EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the European Community. (EC), an economic and political confederation of European nations, and other organizations (with the same member nations) that are responsible for a common foreign and security policy and for cooperation on justice and home affairs. Twenty-seven countries-Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany (originally West Germany), Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden-are full members of the organizations of the EU.

1 Organizational Structure

The EC, which is the core of the EU, originally referred to the group of Western European nations that belonged to each of three treaty organizations-the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the European Economic Community (EEC), and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). In 1967 these organizations were consolidated under a comprehensive govern 24124g69y ing body composed of representatives from the member nations and divided into four main branches-the European Commission (formerly the Commission of the European Communities), the Council of the European Union (formerly the Council of Ministers of the European Communities), the European Parliament, and the European Court of Justice.

Although the EU has no single seat of government, many of its most important offices are in Brussels, Belgium. The European Commission, which has executive and some legislative functions, is headquartered there, as is the Council of the European Union; it is also where the various committees of the European Parliament generally meet to prepare for the monthly sessions in Strasbourg, France. In addition to the four main branches of the EU's governing body, there are the Court of Auditors, which oversees EU expenditures; the Economic and Social Committee, a consultative body representing the interests of labor, employers, farmers, consumers, and other groups; and the European Council, a consultative but highly influential body composed primarily of the president of the Commission and the heads of government of the EU nations and their foreign ministers.

2 Evolution

The history of the EU began shortly after World War II, when there developed in Europe a strong revulsion against national rivalries and parochial loyalties. While postwar recovery was stimulated by the Marshall Plan, the idea of a united Europe was held up as the basis for European strength and security and the best way of preventing another European war. In 1950 Robert Schuman, France's foreign minister, proposed that the coal and steel industries of France and West Germany be coordinated under a single supranational authority. France and West Germany were soon joined by four other countries-Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Italy-in forming (1952) the ECSC. The EEC (until the late 1980s it was known informally as the Common Market) and Euratom were established by the Treaty of Rome in 1958. The EEC, working on a large scale to promote the convergence of national economies into a single European economy, soon emerged as the most significant of the three treaty organizations.

The Brussels Treaty (1965) provided for the merger of the organizations into what came to be known as the EC and later the EU. Under Charles de Gaulle, France vetoed (1963) Britain's initial application for membership in the Common Market, five years after vetoing a British proposal that the Common Market be expanded into a transatlantic free-trade area. In the interim, Britain had engineered the formation (1959) of the European Free Trade Association. In 1973 the EC expanded, as Great Britain, Ireland, and Denmark joined. Greece joined in 1981, and Spain and Portugal in 1986. With German reunification in 1990, the former East Germany also was absorbed into the Community.

The Single European Act (1987) amended the EC's treaties so as to strengthen the organization's ability to create a single internal market. The Treaty of European Union, signed in Maastricht, the Netherlands, in 1992 and ratified in 1993, provided for a central banking system, a common currency to replace the national currencies (the euro, see European Monetary System), a legal definition of the EU, and a framework for expanding the EU's political role, particularly in the area of foreign and security policy. The member countries completed their move toward a single market in 1993 and agreed to participate in a larger common market, the European Economic Area (est. 1994), with most of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) nations. In 1995, Austria, Finland, and Sweden, all former EFTA members, joined the EU, but Norway did not, having rejected membership for the second time in 1994.

A crisis within the EU was precipitated in 1996 when sales of British beef were banned because of "mad cow disease" (see prion). Britain retaliated by vowing to paralyze EU business until the ban was lifted, but that crisis eased when a British plan for eradicating the disease was approved. The ban was lifted in 1999, but French refusal to permit the sale of British beef resulted in new strains within the EU. In 1998, as a prelude to their 1999 adoption of the euro, 11 EU nations established the European Central Bank; the euro was introduced into circulation in 2002 by 12 EU nations.

The EU was rocked by charges of corruption and mismanagement in its executive body, the European Commission (EC), in 1999. In response the EC's executive commission including its president, Jacques Santer, resigned, and a new group of commissioners headed by Romano Prodi was soon installed. In actions taken later that year the EU agreed to absorb the functions of the Western European Union, a comparatively dormant European defense alliance, thus moving toward making the EU a military power with defensive and peacekeeping capabilities.

The installation in Feb., 2000, of a conservative Austrian government that included the right-wing Freedom party, whose leaders had made xenophobic, racist, and anti-Semitic pronouncements, led the other EU members to impose a number of sanctions on Austria that limited high-level contacts with the Austrian government. Enthusiasm for the sanctions soon waned, however, among smaller EU nations, and the issue threatened to divide the EU. A face-saving fact-finding commission recommended ending the sanctions, stating that the Austrian government had worked to protect human rights, and the sanctions were ended in September.

In 2003 the EU and ten non-EU European nations (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Cyprus, and Malta) signed treaties that resulted in the largest expansion of the EU the following year, increasing the its population by 20% and its land area by 23%. Most of the newer members are significantly poorer than the largely W European older members. The old and new member nations at first failed to agree on a constitution for the organization; the main stumbling block concerned voting, with Spain and Poland reluctant to give up a weighted system of voting scheduled for 2006 that would give them a disproportionate influence in the EU relative to their populations. In Oct., 2004, however, EU nations signed a constitution with a provision requiring a supermajority of nations to pass legislation. The constitution, which must be ratified by all members to come into effect, was rejected by voters in France and the Netherlands in 2005, leading EU leaders to pause in their push for its ratification. By 2007, however, 17 nations had nonetheless ratified the document.

Meanwhile, in 2003 the EU embarked, in minor ways, on its first official military missions when EU peacekeeping forces replaced the NATO force in Macedonia and were sent by the United Nations to Congo (Kinshasa); the following year the EU assumed responsibility for overseeing the peacekeepers in Bosnia. EU members also took steps toward developing a common defense strategy independent of NATO, and agreed in 2004 to admit Bulgaria and Romania in 2007. José Manuel Barroso succeeded Prodi as president of the European Commission late in 2004. Accession talks with Turkey were partially suspended in Dec., 2006, over the issue of Turkish relations with Cyprus because Turkey was unwilling to open its ports to Cypriot trade unless the EU eased its trade restrictions on North Cyprus..

3 The Accession of Romania to the European Union

The Accession of Romania to the European Union took place on January 1, 2007. This date was set at the Thessaloniki Summit in 2003 and confirmed in Brussels on June 18, 2004. The country reports of October 2004 also affirmed the January 1, 2007 date of accession for both Bulgaria and Romania. The Treaty of Accession was signed on April 25, 2005 at Luxembourg's Neumünster Abbey. The September 26, 2006 monitoring report of the European Commission confirmed the entry date as January 1, 2007. The last instrument of ratification of the Treaty of Accession was deposited with the Italian government on December 20, 2006 thereby ensuring it came into force on January 1, 2007. Since the Romanian Revolution of 1989, European Union (EU) membership has been the main goal of every Romanian Government and practically every political party in Romania. Romania signed its Europe Agreement in 1993[1] and submitted its official application for membership in the EU in 1995, the third of the post-Cold War Eastern European countries to do so after Hungary and Poland. Along with its official EU application, Romania submitted the "Snagov Declaration", signed by all fourteen major political parties declaring their full support for EU membership.

During the 2000s, Romania implemented a number of reforms in order to prepare for EU accession, including the consolidation of its democratic systems, the institution of the rule of law, the acknowledgement of respect for human rights, the commitment to personal freedom of expression, and the implementation of a functioning free-market economy. Romania's strategic geopolitical location will influence the EU's policy towards its relations with all of Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Turkey, and Asia. In the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI), Romania has an opportunity to demonstrate its leadership in the region.

The objective of joining the EU has also influenced Romania's regional relations. As a result, Romania has imposed visa regimes on a number of states, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Serbia, Montenegro, Turkey and Moldova.

Officials consider Romania to be both a part of Central Europe and a part of SEE. This reflects the Romanian government's dual ambitions today of strengthening Romania's chances of Euro-Atlantic integration while also being seen as a leader and a zone of stability and democracy in its immediate neighborhood In the early 1990s, both in Romania and Moldova, there has was a movement towards a union the two countries, however it has lost momentum by the late 90s. According to Romanian laws, any Moldovan citizen whose parents or grandparents lived on the territory of Moldova in 1940 can claim Romanian citizenship. This makes all Moldovan citizens, except Soviet-era immigrants, eligible for Romanian passports. [3] At least 300,000, and possibly many more, Moldovans submitted applications for a Romanian passport in the last months of 2006. With the inclusion of Romania into the EU, these passports would allow them to travel and seek jobs in the EU countries. However, since 2001, due to changes in the Romanian law, significant bureaucratic barriers have slowed down this process to a mere trickle: no more than a few hundred Romanian citizenships have been granted each year.

Developed market economy within the EU

On 1 January 2007 Romania entered the European Union. This led to some immediate international trade liberalization, but there was no shock to the economy. The government is running annual surpluses of above 2%.

This is to be contrasted with enormous current account deficits. Low interest rates guarantee availability of funds for investment and consumption. For example, a boom in the real estate market started around 2000 and has not subsided yet. At the same time annual inflation in the economy is variable and during the last five years (2003-2007) has seen a low of 2.3% and high of 6.3%.

Most importantly, this poses a threat to the country's accession to the Eurozone. The Romanian government plans for the euro to replace the leu in 2010. However, experts predict that this might happen as late as in 2012. From a political point of view, there is a trade-off between Romania's economic growth and the stability required for early accession to the monetary union. Romania's per-capita PPP GDP is still only about a 60% of the EU25 average, while the country's nominal GDP per capita is about 53% of the EU25 average.

In the winter of 2004 the political leadership of the current government introduced a flat tax of 16% that was introduced on January 1, 2005. This is done in hope for higher GDP growth and greater tax collection rates. The reform, which some called a "revolution" in taxation, was met with mild discussions and some protests by affected working classes.

The accession of Romania into the European Union has brought about new geographical dimensions as the EU has opened up to the Black Sea.

Bibliografie Romanian economy has sometimes been referred as the "Tiger of the East [-ern Europe]. This is a chart of trend of gross domestic product of Romania at market prices by the International Monetary Fund with figures in millions of USD.Macroeconomic indicator.

For purchasing power parity comparisons, the US dollar is exchanged at 1.24. Romania is a country of considerable potential: rich agricultural lands; diverse energy sources (coal, oil, natural gas, hydro, and nuclear); a substantial, if aging, industrial base encompassing almost the full range of manufacturing activities; well-trained work force; and opportunities for expanded development in tourism on the Black Sea and in the mountains. Major industries in Romania are precision machinery, motor vehicles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, electric goods (especially home appliances), food, fashion, clothing, petroleum, steel, motor vehicles, aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumber, mining and defense, (transistors, aircraft, motor vehicle parts, computers, telecommunications equipment).Financial indicators

The National Bank of Romania (BNR)

Currency exchange rate 2.25 RON per 1 USD (May, 2007)

Reserves including gold US $40 billion (2007) [22]

Government budget US $96.5 billion (revenues)

Public debt 20.7% of GDP (2007)

External debt US $45.3 billion (2007)

Bank funding rate 9% (2/2007)

Romania's economic strength is in the processing and the manufacturing of goods, primarily in small and medium-sized family-owned firms. The country has been less successful in terms of developing world class multinational corporations. In addition, the small and medium-sized firms typically manufacture products that are technologically moderately advanced and therefore increasingly face crushing international competition.

Romania's main industries are clothing and shoe manufacturing, metal, extracting and processing of primary goods (timber, marble, rock), food processing, oil refining and chemical derivates, and to a lesser extent pharmaceuticals, heavy machinery, household electronics, etc. In recent years vehicle manufacturing (see Dacia Logan) has become an important industry. The information-technology-related industry is also growing.

Romania has a number of fashion houses, such as Agnes Toma, Steil and Steilmann. Dacia Logan (by Renault), Ford, ARO and Daewoo Romania are some car models manufactured in Romania. The Dacia Logan led sales in Romania in the first six months, ahead of the Skoda Fabia, Skoda Octavia (up 20% on a new model introduction), Opel Astra and Renault Mégane. Logan was also the top selling car in the region in Q2 2005, ahead of Skoda Fabia and Octavia (up 14.4%), Renault Mégane and Suzuki Ignis (up 5.1%). Romania has been very successful in developing dynamic telecommunications, industrial robots, aerospace, and weapons sectors. Industry and construction accounted for 32% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2003, a comparatively large share even without taking into account related services. The sector employed 26.4% of the workforce. Romania excels in the production of automobiles, machine tools, and chemicals. With the manufacture of 0.5 million vehicles in 2003, Romania was the Europe's third largest producer of automobiles. In 2004 Romania enjoyed one of the largest world market share in machine tools (5.3%). Romanian-based multinationals such as Dacia Logan, Igero bus, Petrom, Rompetrol, Bitdefender are brand names throughout the world. What is less well known is the vital role of small- to medium-sized manufacturing firms, which specialize in niche products and often are owned by management. These firms employ two-thirds of the Romanian workforce.

Romania's industrial output is expected to advance 9% in 2007, while agriculture output is projected to grow 12%. Final consumption is also expected to increase by 11% overall - individual consumption by 14.4% and collective consumption by 10.4%. Domestic demand is expected to go up 12.7%.

The growth of the industrial sector was the principal stimulus to economic development. In 2007 manufacturing industries accounted for approximately 35 percent of the gross domestic product and 29 percent of the work force. Benefiting from strong domestic encouragement and foreign aid, Bucharest's industrialists introduced modern technologies into outmoded or newly built facilities at a rapid pace, increased the production of commodities--especially those for sale in foreign markets--and plowed the proceeds back into further industrial expansion. As a result, industry altered the country's landscape, drawing millions of laborers to urban manufacturing centers.

Factory automation systems were introduced to reduce dependence on labor, to boost productivity with a much smaller work force, and to improve competitiveness. It was estimated that over two-thirds of Romania's manufacturers spent over half of the funds available for facility investments on automation.

Except for mining, most industries were located in the urban areas of the northwest and southeast. Heavy industries generally were located in the south of the country. Factories in Bucharest contributed over 25 percent of all manufacturing value-added in 1998; taken together with factories in surrounding Ilfov, factories in the Bucharest area produced 26 percent of all manufacturing that year. Factories in Bucharest employed 12 percent of the nation's 2.1 million factory workers.

5 Bibligraphy:

. Juncker, Jean-Claude (2006). "Council of Europe - European Union: "A sole ambition for the European continent"" (PDF). Council of Europe




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