Visit of Victor Ponta, Romanian Prime Minister, to José Manuel Barroso: extracts from the joint press briefing
Type: Summary of press conference
End production: 04/02/2013 First transmission: 04/02/2013
José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, received Victor Ponta, Romanian Prime Minister, on 4 February 2013 in Brussels. They held a joint press briefing after their meeting.
The main topics they discussed were the latest progress report under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), adopted by the Commission the previous week, and Romania's economic situation.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, and Victor Ponta, Romanian Prime Minister, at the press point
||SOUNDBITE by José Manuel Barroso (in ENGLISH) on the media issue: saying that 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 outside the Member States when discussing the issue with other partners in the world; so, the freedom of the media is sacrosanct; the Commission defends this freedom and has no intention at all to propose to regulate the media and would be the first to condemn any attack on journalists;
on the situation of the judiciary in Romania: saying that the Commission cannot dismiss the fact that it has 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; this is a problem in terms of the independence of the judiciary; they have not prescribed any specific solution precisely because they very much respect the freedom of the media; but they believe that they have the duty, when preparing the CVM, to recognise that this is a problem and that steps should be taken to address it ; because the goal of the Romanian government and the Romanian authorities is to have an independent judiciary and of course that the media continues its role as an independent power in Romania; it would be artificial to speak about the independence of the judiciary and to dismiss completely the fact that they are receiving these complaints not only from the Constitutional Court or the Superior Counsel of the Magistracy, but also from many individuals and organisations that are calling about this problem;
so, in short, the freedom of the media is a sacrosanct principle for the Commission; at the same time they have to express their concerns when they 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 they also talked about the economic situation in Romania; he has 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 a background of economic and political difficulties; he encouraged the Prime Minister to continue stepping up Romania's efforts towards structural reforms, and towards a swift implementation of the current adjustment programme.
||Cutaway of the speakers
||SOUNDBITE by José Manuel Barroso (in ENGLISH) saying that they have also discussed the cooperation and verification report that the Commission adopted the previous week; he appreciates the efforts that Prime Minister Ponta has made over the last six months to deliver on the commitments he made in July 2012; the conditions now exist, 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 (in ENGLISH) saying that he really appreciated the very important role that José Manuel Barroso and Martin Schulz, President of the EP, have had in helping the political representatives to find the best way to cooperate in Romania; the cooperation agreement between the President and the Prime Minister of Romania seems to be a very helpful and useful tool for making all the institutions work together for the good of the country.
||Cutaway of a camera
||SOUNDBITE by Victor Ponta (in ENGLISH) saying that he expresses his gratitude for the constant position of President Barroso and the European Commission that Romania is fully prepared to join the Schengen area; he informed President Barroso that himself, the President of Romania and the two chairmen of the Romanian Parliament intend to send a common letter to all the EU Heads of State or Government, asking for a positive result in March.
||Speakers shaking hands and leaving the press point