This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the
subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores why the boldest
initiative in the sixty-year quest to achieve a borderless Europe has
exploded in the face of the EU. A close examination of each stage of the EU
financial emergency offers evidence that the European values that are
supposed to provide solidarity within the twenty eight-member EU in good
times and bad are flimsy and thinly distributed. The book aims to show that
it is possible to view the current difficulties of the EU as rooted in much
longer-term decision-making. It examines the different ways in which the
European Union seized the initiative from the European nation-state, from
the formation of the Coal and Steel Community to the Maastricht Treaty. The
book concentrates on the role of France and Germany in the EU.
This book shows that the European Union (EU)'s multi-layered system of decision making was unequal to the stark challenges presented by a candidate with as many problems as Romania. The forms of assistance the EU devised for candidates proved unsuitable for Romania. The EU's emphasis on rapid privatisation had two clearly unforeseen effects, which were bound to adversely affect Romania's future role as a full member. The story of Romania and the EU helps to illustrate the unhelpful way that Western political concepts can be transferred to the South-East European context and how they have been diluted and even deformed in the process. The book then describes how the apparently weak local forces opposed to substantially changing the political rules established after 1989 outwitted an unprepared and irresolute EU. An overview of the chapters included in the book is finally shown.
This chapter explores the first major steps in the relationship between the European Union (EU) and Romania, culminating in the start of entry negotiations in 2000 and the return to power in 2001 of the Social Democratic Party, which would be the chief Romanian interlocutor with the EU over the next four years. Ion Iliescu's strategy of cautious democratisation without meaningful de-communisation remained largely intact. Progress with the EU application appeared to be the most realistic option for strengthening ties with the West. The EU's institutions of multilevel governance proved remarkably prone to lobbying from the Romanian state and the allies it had meanwhile cultivated in Western Europe in order to advance its cause. The 1999–2000 medium-term economic strategy proved to be an ephemeral document and the EU failed to prioritise vital areas such as administrative reform. The EU's multi-layered decision-making system failed to produce a hard-headed cost-benefit analysis.
This chapter describes how the government of Adrian Năstase succeeded in convincing the European Union (EU) that it was committed to fulfilling many of the economic criteria for entry, and explores the strategy which the Party of Romanian Social Democracy (PDSR) employed in order to boost its credibility in Brussels. The EU was a hugely important external power with temporary sovereignty over the development of Romanian policy in major respects, but the PDSR hoped that adept footwork in the bullring of EU negotiations would similarly disorientate a potentially disruptive opponent. The EU itself impeded the chances of Romanian politics growing more representative by some of the decisions that it took. The Partidul Social Democrat (PSD) (Social Democratic Party) hoped that the EU and leading Council members would accept economic reform in the context of a state still subject to strong one-party influence.
This chapter investigates the European Union (EU) aid assistance programmes which meant to drive forward the modernisation of the country so that it could compete effectively with existing members upon joining the Union. The Commission and the Delegation both found it difficult to keep track of Phare projects. The largest Phare project was the Enterprise Restructuring and Professional Conversion Programme (RICOP) scheme. The RICOP project appeared not to be part of a wider development strategy and seemed concerned with overcoming specific short-term problems that threatened to delay progress with meeting the accession terms. The EU often struggled to obtain reliable information on the implementation and impact of its programmes. Romania had a limited capacity to manage EU funds, which would not increase significantly as the years rolled on, and risked losing much of the pre-accession funding allocated to it due to its inability to devise feasible projects.
This chapter explores the failure of the European Union (EU)'s plans to promote a professional civil service. Finance remained one of the weakest central ministries. The government showed an undiminished desire to regularly redesign new laws rather than attempt to implement them as they currently stood. It was difficult to retain competent people in light of the politicisation of the civil service and the lack of a fulfilling career structure. Local government should not be overlooked when assessing the fate of administrative reform. The EU failed to react when it was clear that a professional civil service able to assume the responsibilities of implementing legislation emanating from the EU in a transparent manner was not going to emerge without a titanic struggle in which it would need to play a decisive role. The Romanian authorities under Adrian Năstase and during the Tăriceanu Premiership rarely displayed much fear of the EU.
This chapter explores the degree of political control that was exercised over the justice system in Romania, and the degree to which this undermined meaningful prospects for reform. It demonstrates how the courts and prosecution service remained adjuncts of the Adrian Năstase government and its allies even as negotiations with the European Union (EU) were reaching their height. International financial institutions and the EU were slow to realise how important a compliant legal system was for autocratic rulers determined that the experiment with democracy would have definite limits. The tainted ethics of the justice system were no more sharply on display than during the Panait affair. Under Rodica Stănoiu, independent-minded prosecutors were hounded and purged. The EU seemed to feel that the partisan steps taken by Stănoiu and her aides were the dying gasps of the old politicised legal system.
This chapter investigates the strategy of duplicity exercised by the post-2000 government, both in its bid to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and to become a member of the European Union (EU). It shows how EU vigilance over child care briefly led to a crisis between the EU and Romania, and how failings in the EU's untidy system of decision making enabled the Partidul Social Democrat (PSD) (Social Democratic Party) to regain the initiative after a short time. The Partnership for Peace programme opened the possibility of future NATO membership without allowing any real participation in NATO's current decision making. The EU was surrendering to the Romanian state approach of relying on changes whose existence was confined to documents and regulations. The PSD mounted a major diplomatic offensive to change hearts and minds in the corridors of power in the Parliament, Council and at the top of the EU Commission.
This chapter dwells on the manner in which the European Union (EU) engaged with Romania during the final six months of negotiations in 2004. It also explores how the EU decided to close negotiations on the Partidul Social Democrat (PSD) (Social Democratic Party)'s restricted agenda for change. The signs of shortcomings in the democratic process are explained. The PSD discovered that the trafficking of influences was a practice not confined to Romania or other countries where the public and private spheres were blurred. The EU Commission appeared disorientated about how to interpret its competition rules. Britain had been Romania's most active backer for EU entry at the start of the decade. The PSD had grown in the estimation of key European power-brokers since 2000. The manner in which the EU engaged with Romania during the final year of negotiations revealed the deeply unsatisfactory nature of a Europeanisation process.
This chapter explores the culminating two years of accession talks with a new government and a new Commission in place, also examining the last-minute safeguards introduced by the European Union (EU) to try and inject fresh momentum into justice reform. The Commission prioritised reform of the justice system in ways it had conspicuously failed to do previously. The World Bank loaned Romania money to modernise its justice system. There was a dire need for modern court facilities, more ancillary staff and higher salary rates to attract better-qualified judges. The lack of coordination inside the government between ministers from the now rival National Liberal and Democratic parties meant there was a serious neglect of the administrative reforms and economic restructuring needed to ensure that Romania entered the EU minimally prepared for the enormous challenges which lay ahead. The multi-layered EU system appeared paralysed by Romania.