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A Interview

Jonathan Scheele: "Romania’s EU accession perspectives are good"

Miercuri, 10 mai 2006, 0:00

Head of Delegation of the European Commission in Romania/

One week before the European Commission’s monitoring report, talked to the Head of Delegation of the European Commission in Romania Jonathan Scheele about corruption and agriculture, the two most problematic chapters for Romania’s integration, and about the chances of Romania to join the EU states on January 1, 2007. Some answers were, of course, very diplomatic.

The Head of Delegation of the European Commission in Romania Jonathan Scheele is the third EU ambassador to Romania. He proved to be involved in most of Romania’s problems to a greater extent than his predecessors. Mr. Scheele, the EU has constantly requested results regarding the anti-corruption fight. Do you consider that Romania has met this objective?

Jonathan Scheele: Well, Romania made remarkable progress regarding anti corruption fight, and this has been very visible during the last months when changes have been made on the law-making and operational levels. However, it is still difficult to make spectacular changes in a short time.

The evaluation that the European Commission will release on May 16 will not take into account only the law and professional enhancements but also on the progress of the cases already in work.

We saw progress regarding the regulations on the political parties’ financing and improvement in wealth declarations, which both represent a good foundation for further investigation of wrongdoings. Nevertheless, these progresses should not stop once Romania becomes and EU member. What role has the Justice minister Monica Macovei played within the justice reform?

Jonathan Scheele: She definitely is a very determined person, fully honest and with good ideas. On the other hand, she does not belong to any political party as coming from the civil society, and also boasts the experience gained from working abroad, in countries with similar backgrounds as Romania. As far as she is concerned, I believe she did everything she could as minister of Justice.

It is now up tot the judicial system to react independently. There are already signs of enhanced professionalism and to this positive aspect has also contributed Monica Macovei. Another problem of Romania’s accession to the EU concerns the agriculture, in a subsistence state. What approach do you consider most appropriate for Romania?

Jonathan Scheele: In Romania, agriculture exists under two distinct aspects. Firs of all, approx. half of the agricultural land is comprised in large farms, established on commercial grounds, modern and quite competitive.
Secondly, the other half is subsistence agriculture. Here lies the problem that in Romania there are no powerful family farms, unlike European countries.The Common Agricultural Policy (PAC) supports the development of this direction. The shortcoming is that in Romania the average age of the farmers is above 54.

We hope that the restructuring of the agriculture, the upgrading of the subsistence agriculture will offer farmers a decent leaving. We also target the youth to come and work in agriculture, but this is possible only in the next 5-10 years, when Romania eill be able to value its agricultural potential. Do you consider Romania prepared to enter the EU? We know an official answer is not possible though.

Jonathan Scheele: I am very optimistic in this regard. During the four years and a half since I have been here I could see remarkable progress in many fields, hence the good perspectives. The final verdict lies with the European Commission first, and then with the EU member states.

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