Reform process and economy discussed with Romanian Prime Minister
The main subjects for discussion between President Barroso and Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Monday were the latest progress report under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, adopted by the Commission last week, and Romania's economic situation.
On the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), President Barroso expressed appreciation for Prime Minister Ponta's efforts over the last six months to deliver on the commitments he made last July. "The conditions now exist, with a more stable political situation – a new Government and Parliament – to make a real push on the reform process," said the President. He noted that further progress on the independence of the judiciary and the appointment to key posts will be crucial milestones in order to succeed in the reform process. He also stressed that the politicians should lead by example by stepping aside where integrity rulings or corruption charges exist.
On the economy, President Barroso 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," underlined the President.
Schengen accession was also among the other issues discussed. "As you know, I support, and the Commission supports, Romania's accession to Schengen," he said in his statement after the meeting.
Answering a question on media freedom in Romania, President Barroso stressed in very strong terms that the freedom of the media is a sacrosanct principle and that the Commission will always defend free and pluralist media in Romania and elsewhere. He also expressed his concerns over the complaints addressed to the Commission on orchestrated campaigns in the media that might pose a serious threat to independence of the judiciary in Romania.