Romania received a big mark on Friday, at Brussels, where the latest Schengen report was evaluated. Except that the „French professor” refused to sign the mark. Even though there were no observations or objections from other EU member states, the French representative called for supplementary time to study the report. In other words, it blocked procedures without explanations, but to the immediate use of the French President.
How did Nicolas Sarkozy came to the conclusion, in just one year, that a knife stabbed in the back of the Romanian friends might be to his advantage in the 2012 electoral fight? The nose of the political animal was lured by the sweet smell of extreme right votes that loom in a France overwhelmed by immigrants – the Balkan gypsies are no longer the majority. Sarkozy’s chances are not encouraged by surveys and on top of everything else it has to face a redoubtable competition: charismatic Marine Le Pen, daughter and heir of Jean Marie Le Pen.
Irrespective of the reasons of the French President, Attila’s place, the barbarian Hun who ate children, is taken by Sarkozy in between the Carpathians as the French eater of Romanians. The present degradation of Romanian – French bilateral relations is overwhelming. Dialogue is cut short, the French diplomacy imitates Sarkozy’s attitude to his Romanian counterpart Basescu at Lisbon.
The French opacity is so absolute that Romanians, irrespective of their political color, started to consider taking up the toughest replies. The proposal of Romanian MEP Adrian Severin to withdraw Romania from the International Organization of the Francophonie was received with open arms by all politicians in Bucharest. What is more, the governing coalition even talked about a withdrawal of the Romanian Ambassador to Paris.
At the moment, rational versions rule over other irrational ones. However, Paris’s behavior will modify Romania’s negotiations style in matters that relate to their national interest. If the old Europeans did not want a second Poland in the East, Sarkozy offers it as a gift. T
he French President catalyzed the transformation of a personal stake into a major stake for the European club in which France is a top member but is placed no higher than the common principles. By playing his small card in his big palace on Elysee, Sarkozy seems not aware that he is about to launch a tectonic movement in the EU. This time, it is not Romania’s adhesion to Schengen that is central, but the principle of objectivity that rests at the basis of appreciating the performances of another member state (that no longer has the statute of a candidate member).
As long as free access on the labour market, adhesion to Schengen or to Euro zone are awarded on objective requirements ruled by treaties signed by all members, the integration philosophy of the EU maintains its value. When contracts are breached out of political subjectivism, all integration mechanisms transform in exclusion mechanisms. “Welcome to Schengen” becomes “You are not allowed in this select area”. “Unity in diversity” becomes “Primus inter pares”. Support mechanisms, like the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism on Justice become inter-state blackmail tools. Talks on cutting EU costs flank in scandals, negotiations transform in retorts, the European Council becomes a boxing arena and the EU a neighborhood in which the big boys’ gang make the rules for the smaller ones. This is the future Mr. Sarkozy prepares for a united Europe.
There is no point to take on the discussion about the weak arguments presented by France to support its anti-Romanian position. Of course this regrettable behavior only inflames the low burning fire of Romanian extremism, which cannot wait its turn to unleash anti-European rages. There are naives in Romania who do not give importance to this phenomenon but we wish them not to confront with its real dimensions.
Not only Extremists will take advantage of the current context. There are important voices of the political mainstream who would like Romania to ease off its European values. So far, there have been shy voices under the overwhelming pro-European public opinion. However, we will be hearing more of them. There still is a sparkle of hope: France’s representative is the only one who blocked on Friday the approval of the last Schengen evaluation.
At the Spring Council, France needs allies in its attempt to block Romania’s access to Schengen. One of them will be Germany, whose interest for this region is growing. It seems that for now, Berlin supports Romania’s adhesion but only until October 2011. In this situation, I am curious to know the arguments presented, because at the technical chapter, Romania is well prepared and corruption and organized crime cannot be crushed in six months not even in the country of the Woerth – Bettancourt affair.
The pleasant surprise for Bucharest comes from London as the Cameron government blows a good wind under the Romanian ship navigating on waters close to the Bosphorus. We hope that, with the British help, together with the German rationality and the solidarity of the newcomers in the EU, we will manage to block the transformation of Paris’s blindness into a European “folie a deux”.
If not, the French knife will rust in Romania’s back, causing a septicemia which will weaken the EU.
Current state of the arts
- Diplomatic relations between Romania and France are non-existent, in the last three months Paris accepted just a technical dialogue with Bucharest. The strategic partnership is just a good memory. Currently, Romania’s strategy is to attempt the isolation of France in the Schengen matter. The EADS brief on suspending payments preceded the public announcement made by President Basescu regarding this matter.
- The EU Cooperation and Verification Mechanism for Justice is seen by several EU important members as the perfect blackmail tool against Romania. Obsessively wanted by Romanian officials, an end of the mechanism would have important stakes. However, the anemic results in its fight against corruption mine any diplomatic efforts.
- A surprise ally standing up for Romania is Great Britain. With a right wing government, London is on the verge of a radical change of priorities in terms of foreign affairs and Eastern Europe seems to become important in political and economic terms.
- Romania’s future retort within the EU might target files of great national interest if France and its allies, Germany and the Netherlands will manage to block Romania’s adhesion to Schengen on the longer term. The EU budget might be such a file.