The existence of a European strategy against corruption with a mechanism to monitor corruption in all member states - an idea advanced by Romanian MEP Monica Macovei - does not seem to please everybody. British minister for Europe David Lidington showed in an interview for HotNews.ro during his visit to Bucharest this week that it should be the responsibility of EU member states to fight corruption individually. He also speaks in his interview with HotNews.ro about migration, bilateral relations, and Moldova.
Romania and Bulgaria are the most corrupt EU countries. But corruption is not a phenomenon specific to these two countries - an argument invoked by Romanian MEP Monica Macovei who last week proposed a European strategy against corruption which would include e mechanism to monitor corruption in all EU member states.
Things should be looked at in detail, David Lidington said. He said it was important that a European strategy complied with the competence of member states and that Britain would not accept another transfer of power from the UK Parliament to European authorities. The responsibility to fight corruption themselves should not be taken from the governments of EU member states, he said.
On the issue of Rroma people, which has become a European, not only Romanian-French issue, he said it should be discussed calmly. He said recent statements made by European Commissioner Viviane Reding related France actions in this regard were "unfortunate". He said that while all EU citizens have the right to travel to other member states for work, any member state has the right to act on citizens who are living on its territory illegally, but in a distinct and indiscriminate manner.
VIDEO Interview with Minister David Lidington
What he said on the visit to Chisinau and Bucharest
- My German counterpart and I joined forces to visit Chisinau and Bucharest, partially to demonstrate the very strong friendship that exists between the Governments of the UK and Germany where our interests on a number of European issues are very similar. (…) The Government of Moldova is facing very difficult challenges. We think they have made very good, remarkable progress indeed in the year that they have been in office, so we wanted to provide a demonstration of solidarity with democracy in Moldova. And then, it was important to come to Bucharest to share opinions with Romanian leaders, particularly given that Romania lives right next door to the Republic of Moldova and has a very profound national interest in seeing a very good democratic outcome there.
What he said on the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM)
- The report from the European Commission has made a number of criticisms on Romania. (…) From the British perspective, we were pleased by the swift action that was taken to improve the ANI law. (…) That is an important achievement. It’s essential that all aspects of CVM are met and, in London, we are very willing to continue some of the co-operation that we have been doing with the Romanian authorities to assist in raising the standards of criminal judicial systems in Romania.
What he said on Romania’s role in the EU, the UK-Romania partnership
- I hope that we will be able to deepen and strengthen the partnership between the UK and Romania. Let me suggest three ways in which our interests do coincide:
- First, the EU faces a massive challenge because of the fierce competition that Europe now gets from the Far East, Latin America and the United States. Europe as a whole is losing competitiveness and losing jobs to other parts of the world. Talking to Romanian Ministers I find a shared belief that we need to deepen the single market, we need to cut the costs of European regulations upon business, and we need to work towards good trading links to the rest of the world so that we can get more jobs and investments into Europe.
- Secondly, there is the issue of the energy security and it is in British and in Romanian interests that we reduce our dependence upon all gas supplies from politically risky parts of the world. We believe that can be done partly by developing a genuine single market in energy, which I think will be good for consumers, will mean more efficient use of energy and will improve the energy conservation.
- Third (…), Romania has a very important geo-political position. Romania knows about the Balkans, Romania knows about the Russia, Romania knows about the Black See area and Turkey and the Caucasus. These are very important areas of European interest. And we, London, want to benefit from Romania’s experience and knowledge of those parts of the world because they are important for us as well.
On Eastern neighbourhood and Moldova
- The view from London is very clear - whether you are looking at Moldova or whether you are looking at the Western Balkans or Turkey, we think that any country that is European, which wants to join the EU and which meets the accession criteria for the EU, should be able to move over time towards full membership of the EU. Now we see the Eastern neighbourhood as something good in its own right. We are very strong supporters of the association agreements talks with the Republic of Moldova, and we want to see talks on a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement with Moldova begin as soon as possible.
- The prospect of full membership of the European family of nations should be there on the table for Moldova. And that is the case we will continue to argue very strongly.
- In the conversations I’ve had with the Prime Minister of Romania, with other Romanian leaders, I have found a deep understanding of the situation in Moldova, a willingness to work hard to support reforms in Moldova. I think UK can learn from Romania about Moldova. I hope that our two countries can work together for the right outcome in the Republic of Moldova. That is in both our national interests and interests of Europe as a whole.
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