Romania fears ‘two-speed Europe’ will be new Iron Curtain

Romanian Senate President Călin Popescu Tăriceanu told Frans Timmermans (pictured) that he fears two or multi-speed Europe would divide Europe once again. [European Commission]

The president of the Romanian Senate today (20 April) shared his concerns with Frans Timmermans about the idea of a ‘two-speed Europe’, insisting the EU should learn from the lessons of the communist period. EURACTIV Romania reports.

First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans met with Romanian Senate leader Călin Popescu Tăriceanu this morning, who insisted that the idea of a Europe of different speeds could lead to fresh divisions in the bloc, akin to the communist period and the Iron Curtain.

Tăriceanu said that he believes that the post-war period, when Europe was divided up by the powers of the time, is the reason why Romania lags behind the other member states in terms of development.

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“There are intense discussions about a multi-speed Europe or one of concentric circles. I shared my concerns with the vice-president that this idea could lead to a new division of Europe. I say a new division because after the Second World War, Europe was split by the Iron Curtain,” Tăriceanu explained.

The Senate president also added that he hopes the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) will no longer apply to Romania in 2018 and that the Eastern European country will be a full member of the EU then.

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“We want to be a part of the EU as a full member. This is why I told Vice-President Timmermans that I hope to soon see the CVM lifted so that many Romanians no longer have the feeling that Europe works under different criteria for members in different categories,” Tăriceanu said.

He added that he has previously discussed the issue of the CVM with Timmermans’ boss, Jean-Claude Juncker. The Commission president has pledged to make effort during his mandate to see the judicial reform and corruption assessment mechanism lifted.

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The Senate leader insisted that there were a number of mistakes in this year’s report though. Tăriceanu claimed that the report asked the parliament to explain its decisions and that “no parliament or lower house in the world has to explain its decisions. Only courts.”

He added that Timmermans asked him to send his observations to the Commission.

The Dutchman, who will participate in a Citizens’ Dialogue later this evening, said at a press conference that Romania is “in the final, final metres of this long marathon”, in regard to the CVM.

Timmermans expressed his confidence that the government will put the country “on the right track” to conclude the Mechanism, which was first implemented when Romania joined the EU in 2007.

He said once monitoring ends, “full enjoyment of human rights and the rule of law will be irreversible”.

But the Commissioner added that Romanians are “the best guarantor” of the anti-corruption fight. Tăriceanu acknowledged that he also had a brief discussion with the Dutch Commissioner about the controversial anti-graft law the Romanian government tried to pass earlier this year and which sparked mass protests across the country.

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