Throngs of European leaders and politicians convened in Bucharest for the EPP Congress. What happened there on Wednesday:
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel applauded brave measures taken by Greece, Spain, Portugal and Romania and, pointing to Ukraine and Belarus, warned that without individual freedom one cannot talk of economic growth
- EC President Jose Barroso called for more solidarity between old and new Europe and warned of the danger populist trends raise against Europe.
- Romanian President Traian Basescu called for "more and deeper Europe", saying that the United States of Europe would be a solution to Europe's current problems. He said all EU countries needed a common Labor code and a common energy policy which should not stop at Romania's eastern border.
- Late in the evening, Wilfried Martens was re-elected for a three-year term at the helm of the party, with 91% of the votes.
Also on Wednesday, Barroso told Romania's Social Democratic PM Victor Ponta in a meeting in Bucharest that unless Romania takes urgent measures to solve the issues that led to the suspension of funding for a series of European programs, EU fund absorption in the country would be seriously compromised.
Meanwhile, in a glitzy event at Bucharest's National Arena stadium, in the presence of some 60,000 people, the governing Social Liberal Union (USL, formed of Liberals and Social Democrats) launched their candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections. The event was marked by harsh attacks both on President Traian Basescu - who had been the subject of a failed impeachment referendum pushed by the USL this summer - and European popular leaders present in Bucharest.
What happened at the USL event:
- PM Victor Ponta told the crowds that he welcomed the European officials attending the EPP congress in Bucharest and invited the audience to let them here what Romanians think of Basescu and his supporting party, the Democratic Liberals (PDL). The crowds responded with a boo.
- Ponta said that in 2013 Romania needed to change not only the Constitution but also the way the Romanian state was conceived "these years". He called Basescu "the last Communist of Europe". He said Basescu and two of his "good friends", including Vicktor Orban of Hungary, were speaking of the federalisation fo Romania
- Ponta spoke of a need "to win the parliamentary election, to change the Constitution, to push for a full change... that means: [USL co-leader] Crin Antonescu for Cotroceni [the palace hosting the Romanian Presidency]"
- For his part, USL co-leader Crin Antonescu said "it is not true that Traian Basescu and his party stand together with Europe at the Parliament Palace [the venue of the EPP congress], because when the Romanian people is symbolically here, one cannot be in Europe without your people. In Europe, without your people, you're nobody or a servant"
- Antonescu said USL was the strongest political force ever built in the history of Romania. And he said "Romania is part of Europe no matter who leads it. Romania gained its freedom with the blood of Romanians, Romania has never received charity from anybody, Romania has a right to vote in Europe and not only a right to listen".