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Publicat în 8 august 2012, 19:23 / 185 elite & idei

Mircea Geoană, New York Times: Reîntoarcerea României de pe buza prăpastiei

Mircea Geoană, New York Times: Reîntoarcerea României de pe buza prăpastiei

„Românii sunt mai obosiţi, frustraţi şi furioşi decât orice alţi europeni”, scrie Mircea Geoană în Pagina de Opinii a ediţiei online de joi a NYT (articolul original este disponibil mai jos). Acesta a subliniat că „acum depinde de toţi politicienii ţării să vină cu un nou plan pentru a răspunde palmei pe care le-au dat-o cetăţenii la referendum”.

Băsescu a supravieţuit cu puţin referendumului de duminică, „salvarea sa fiind o manevră legislativă introdusă de Curtea Constituţională şi acceptată de Parlament, cerând ca, pentru ca referendumul să fie valid, la vot să participe majoritatea absolută a alegătorilor”, a apreciat fostul candidat la alegerile prezidenţiale din 2009, precizând că deşi împotriva lui Băsescu au votat mai mulţi alegători decât l-au ales în 2009, ei nu reprezintă peste 50 la sută din electorat, transmite Mediafax.

În opinia senatorului, amânarea unei hotărâri privind validitatea rezultatului referendumului până în 12 septembrie „aruncă ţara într-o perioadă prelungită de incertitudine politică”.

„Divizarea partizană” care a atins o culme în cursul referendumului de duminică „a fost gestionată neîndemânatic de toate părţile”, scrie fostul ambasador român la Washington: „Starea proastă din România este strâns legată de problemele curente din Europa. Cetăţenii din întreaga Europă se simt înşelaţi de Guvernele pe care le-au votat, pentru că au eşuat să îi protejeze”.

Geoană scrie că ţara a alunecat în sărăcie şi haos, în timp ce Băsecu „flutura cartea austerităţii fiscale ca semn al angajementelor României în Europa, avertizând că austeritatea creează spaţiu pentru extremism, atât de stânga, cât şi de dreapta” şi apreciind că „un stil ostil şi muşcător al felului de a face politică îi determină pe partenerii europeni ai României să se îndoiască de puterea democraţiei sale şi să pună în discuţie angajamentul său faţă de valorile europene”.

„Voci stridente ies ilegitim în prim plan, în timp ce curentul dominant în Europa este ocupat cu lupta împotriva crizei datoriilor”, denunţă el, vizând „oficiali europeni frustraţi de propriile politici”, care au reacţionat faţă de încercările pripite ale Parlamentului român de a „netezi un teren politic”. „Europa vrea să stopeze tendinţele antidemocratice, dar cetăţenii României nu trebuie plătească factura pentru deficite democratice din alte părţi ale Europei”, adaugă el.

„Crearea unui set de ţări ostracizate în periferia geografică şi politică a continentului ne va face să alunecăm spre o Europă reîmpărţită”, încheie Geoană.

Bringing Romania Back From the Brink

by Mircea Geoana, NYTimes

ROMANIANS are even more tired, frustrated and angry than many other Europeans. Romania, the seventh most populous country in the European Union, ranks at the very bottom of almost all European human development measures. Its poorest citizens are paying the harshest price for the current fiscal tightening and years of negative or slow economic growth. Five years after Romanians acceded to the European Union, their hopes have been shattered, the promises made to them have been repeatedly broken, and their quest for dignity at home and in Europe has been denied.

On Sunday, Romania’s president, Traian Basescu, narrowly survived a referendum calling for his impeachment, despite the fact that more than 80 percent of those voting supported his dismissal. His lifeline, a last-minute legal maneuver introduced by the Constitutional Court and accepted by Parliament, required an absolute majority of eligible voters to participate for the referendum to be considered valid. Although more than seven million people voted against him — more than the number that elected him in a narrow 2009 presidential runoff election — they did not constitute more than 50 percent of the electorate.

To further complicate matters, the court has postponed until Sept. 12 a decision on whether the referendum was valid, throwing the country into a prolonged period of political uncertainty.

The partisan divide, which reached its pinnacle in Sunday’s referendum, has been managed clumsily by all sides. The majority in Parliament, an alliance of the Social Democratic Party and the National Liberal Party, were angered by Mr. Basescu’s interference in the legislative process and went on a blitzkrieg, changing laws and institutions and replacing the leaders of both chambers of Parliament. With Parliamentary elections only a few months away, the escalating drama called into question the country’s democratic, economic and political stability.

Romania’s plight is closely connected to Europe’s current troubles. In the middle of an economic and political predicament that they did not create and had no control over, citizens all over Europe feel cheated. Governments they voted for have failed to protect them.

While Mr. Basescu held the fiscal austerity card high as a sign of Romania’s commitments to Europe, the country was sliding into poverty and chaos. Austerity is creating room for extremism on both the left and right, and now an adversarial and acrimonious style of politics is making Romania’s European partners doubt its democratic strengths and question its commitment to shared European values.

Strident voices steal the stage while the democratic mainstream of Europe is busy fighting the debt crisis. Frustrated with the limits of their own policies, European officials have now vigorously reacted to Parliament’s ham-handed attempts to create a clear political playing field. Europe wants to contain anti-democratic trends, but Romania’s citizens should not be forced to foot the bill for democratic lapses elsewhere in Europe. Creating an artificial set of ostracized countries on the continent’s geographic and political periphery will put us on the slippery slope toward a redivided Europe.

The crisis has been brewing for many years while observers largely ignored it. Focusing mostly on corruption and the justice system, critics rarely addressed Romania’s core problem: the profoundly dysfunctional political process.

For two decades, politicians in Romania have walked a tightrope between public priorities and the vested economic interests. Many businesses seek lucrative government contracts, and too many politicians are interested only in the spoils — a practice that perverts the political process. Boycotted elections, won or lost by a small number of votes, and suspicion of fraud have been trademarks of the past decade.

A vitriolic political environment emerged, one that lacks actual debate. The political parties are blamed, concealing the reality of the corrupt political system plagued by nepotism and fiefs pushing agendas that have little to do with the citizens’ priorities. The justice system cannot be independent as long as political forces systematically use it as a battleground and tool of influence. Parts of the news media and nongovernmental organizations have been made economically vulnerable and increasingly partisan.

I know how hard it is to bring about meaningful and lasting reform. But I have seen it happen before. As foreign minister from 2000 to 2004, I was involved in the effort to bring Romania to the point of joining NATO and the European Union. Now we must undertake bold reforms once again and act in solidarity for the public interest despite our political differences.

The agenda is clear: legal checks and balances must be strengthened; the fight for social justice and equal opportunity must become a central task of government; competing politicians must tone down the rhetoric and actually talk to one another. Without a functional and independent justice system, the country will not be able to escape the vicious nexus of private economic interest and politics. And that, in turn, will require a review of Parliament’s role and the financing of the political parties and elections.

It is now up to all of the country’s politicians to come up with a new plan to answer the slap Romania’s citizens delivered to them in Sunday’s referendum.

Mircea Geoana, a Romanian senator, has served as Romania’s ambassador to the United States and its foreign minister and ran for president in 2009.

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