Extracts from the joint press briefing by José Manuel BARROSO, President of the EC, and Victor PONTA, Romanian Prime Minister, following their meeting in the Berlaymont building
Première transmission: 04/02/2013
Brussels, Belgium - EC/Berlaymont
Fin de production: 04/02/2013
Victor Ponta is the Romanian Prime Minister since being appointed by President Traian Băsescu in May 2012. A member of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and its leader since 2010, as well as joint leader of the governing Social Liberal Union (USL), he has been a member of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies for Gorj County since 2004.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of the speakers
||SOUNDBITE by José Manuel Barroso, EC President (In English) saying that: Regarding the media issue, first of all let me say one thing – for us the freedom of the media is sacred and the Commission will always defend free and pluralist media in Romania and elsewhere. In fact issues of media pluralism and standards are matters that the Commission has taken up in many different ways across many Member States and indeed when discussing the issue with other partners in the world. So, first point, freedom of media is sacrosanct and the Commission defends this freedom and we have no intention at all to propose the Commission to regulate the media and we will be the first to condemn any attacks on journalists.
When it comes to discuss and to analyse the situation of the judiciary in Romania, we cannot dismiss the fact that we have received complaints by the Constitutional court, by the Superior Counsel of the Magistracy about campaigns orchestrated in the media against the independence of the magistrates – either prosecutors or judges. And so, this is a problem, because this is a problem in terms of independence of the judiciary and we have not prescribed any specific solution for that precisely because we very much respect the freedom of the media, but we believe that we have the duty when preparing the CVM to recognise that this is a problem and that steps should be taken to address it so that we have what is the goal of the Romanian government and the Romanian authorities – independent judiciary and of course that the media continues its role as an independent power as well in Romania. It would be artificial if we speak about the judiciary independence and if we dismiss completely the fact that we are receiving these complaints not only by the way from the Constitutional court or the Superior Counsel of the Magistracy, but also by many individuals and organisations that are calling us about this problem.
I think my answer was completely clear – the freedom of the media is a sacrosanct principle for us. At the same time we have to express our concerns when we receive complaints of orchestrated campaigns in the media to the independence of the judiciary in Romania
||SOUNDBITE by José Manuel Barroso (In English) saying that: We also talked about the economic situation in Romania. I have welcomed the efforts of the Romanian government to reduce the deficit, expected to be below 3% of GDP in 2012. This is a real achievement, especially against the background of economic and political difficulties. I encouraged the Prime Minister to continue stepping up Romanian efforts towards structural reforms and towards the swift implementation of the current adjustment program.
||Cutaway of the speakers
||SOUNDBITE by José Manuel Barroso (In English) saying that: We have also discussed the cooperation and verification report that the Commission adopted last week. I appreciate the effort that Prime Minister Ponta has made on the last 6 months to deliver on the commitments he made last July. The condition now exists with a more stable political situation, a new government and parliament to make a real push on the reform process.
||Cutaway of the speakers
||SOUNDBITE by Victor Ponta, Romanian Prime Minister (In English) saying that: I really appreciated in our meeting and I can even make it public, the very important role that President Barroso and the President of the EP Mr Schulz have had in helping the political representatives to find the best way to cooperate in Romania and cooperation agreement between the President and the Prime Minister of Romania seems to be a very helpful and useful tool for making all the institution working together for the better of the country.
||Cutaway of a camera
||SOUNDBITE by Victor Ponta (In English) saying that: I express my gratitude for the constant position of President Barroso and the European Commission that Romania is fully prepared to join the Schengen area. I informed President Barroso that we intend to send a common letter signed by the President of the country, by me as Prime Minster, by the 2 chairmen of the Parliament to all the head of states and government in Europe asking for a positive result in March.
||Speaker leaving the press point