“There is no higher priority for the United States today as it has been for the last 130 years than for Romania to become an effective democracy sustained by a vibrant, transparent and efficient free market. At the heart of the endeavour is not simply reducing its deficit as required by the IMF and other multilateral lending organisations, but creating a larger private sector,” US Ambassador to Romania Mark Gitenstein stated during the anniversary ceremony held in the theatre of the Romanian Academy. According to Gitenstein, after its 1989 Revolution, through joining NATO and the EU and with support from the US and other western allies, Romania started developing “an economy which can sustain itself.” “At its heart there is what is at stake in the painful decisions the government is making in the next few days,” Gitenstein said.
He warned that “in Romania, today only 22 per cent of the population works in the private sector,” as compared to “some of your successful neighbours” where shares are different. Forty-three per cent of the active population of Germany works in the private sector, 40 per cent in Slovenia and 36 per cent in Ukraine. “In this regard, Romania is just ? per cent better than Moldova which is just now beginning to develop a market economy,” Gitenstein stressed in the context. “This is why I and my colleagues in the US Embassy spend so much of our time and energy attempting to foster the private sector – not simply helping US companies enter and thrive in Romania, but by supporting a business environment that helps US and Romanian companies. That means a transparent legal system, free of corruption and a government which makes predictable and rational decisions,” the US diplomat further said. He did not forget to thank Romania which he called “one of our most reliable allies in this region and we need you to continue to be.” “Your military support in Iraq and Afghanistan is deeply appreciated. Your willingness to host the missile defence system is of immense value to the US and your neighbours,” Ambassador Gitenstein said, continuing in a more nuanced way: “However, without and efficient and healthy economy, none of these strategic initiatives or your alliances is sustainable.”
While not attending celebrations at the Romanian Academy, President Traian Basescu did send a message through his adviser Iulian Fota. “I wish to thank the United States for the support given, which helped us make a successful transition from tyranny of communism to democracy and from planned economy to a market-based economy. The road covered all these years would have been infinitely more difficult if it hadn’t been for the US’ massive contribution,” the head of state said in his message. According to Basescu, Romania and the United States of America are working on a relationship they both refer to as a strategic one and that entails a multitude of specific aspects of bilateral co-operation. In his message, the president further notes that the value of the partnership with the US cannot exclusively reside in the assistance it can offer to Romania at times of grief, but should also become manifest in the spirit of reciprocity in which Romania must approach American international commitments.
“We will continue our co-operation in combating most current risks and threats to the security of Romania and of other NATO member states. Our recent decision to host elements of the US ballistic missile defence system in our territory constitutes new proof of the robustness of the Romanian-American ties, as well as a major contribution to the development of the NATO mission to provide coverage for the entire territories and populations of the allied states against ballistic threats,” President Basescu further noted in his message.
Formal talks on missile defence participation coming up soon
Attending the festivities at the Romanian Academy, Foreign Ministry Secretary of State Bogdan Aurescu yesterday announced that Romania would soon commence official talks on its contribution to the US ballistic missile defence system in Europe. “Our decision of being part of this initiative comes from the evaluation of a growing threat of ballistic attack on SE Europe by unpredictable international actors,” Aurescu was quoted by Mediafax as saying. “We also believe the missile defence should soon turn into a new objective undertaken by NATO for the purpose of protecting the whole of the territory and population of the Alliance,” he added. In early February, President Basescu announced that land interceptor missiles would be based in Romania as components of the US anti-ballistic missile system and that, according to the time-table agreed with the Americans, the system would be up and running on Romanian soil in 2015. A round of Romanian-US technical talks on Romania’s part in the Phased Adaptive Approach to deploying a ballistic missile defence system in Europe took place in Bucharest on May 11.