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Romanian President Traian Basescu eyes EU entry in 2007

Romanian President Traian Basescu eyes EU entry in 2007
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Traian Basescu has held Romania’s presidency for nearly a year now – his term will last five. One of the leader’s top priorities is to ensure his country becomes a member of the European Union.

With the adhesion treaty in the ratification phase, the president has increasing his visits to Europe’s capitals in a bid to bolster support for Romania’s EU entry on the 1st January 2007. EuroNews: Traian Basescu, welcome to EuroNews. The European Commission was rather critical in its last report, stressing once again insufficient progress in the fight against corruption, among other points. So, there is a risk Romania’s accession will be postponed to 2008. What would be the consequences of such a postponement for the country? Traian Basescu: The governement, myself as President of Romania, we cannot imagine that Romania will not fulfil all the obligations in order to become an EU member on the 1st of January 2007. Let me say I am proud of Romania, compared with other periods. We were able to re-establish the infrastructure after the floods, to build houses for people who remained without houses after the floods. I am proud that Romania has proved to be a country able to react to bird flu. We will try to be a safe country for Europe, a safe border country. EuroNews:Does Romania intend to have its say on the EU neighbourhood policy? Traian Basescu: I can say that we have two priorities, which are in connection with security, with our national security and at the same time with the security of Europe: Western Balkans and Black Sea. Coming to the Black Sea, here we will maintain our strategic partnership with United States and the United Kingdom, the countries which are mores focussed in connection with the strategical importance of the extended Black Sea area. EuroNews: Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, is expected this month in Bucharest. What is at stake with her visit? Traian Basescu: As I know, Condoleezza Rice will visit Bucharest sometime in the beginning of December, with a single objective: to sign the bilateral treaty regarding the military facilities for the Pentagon on Romanian territory. This is the reason of the visit, we finalised the negociations regarding the American military facilities on the Black Sea coast and maybe in other areas of Romania. They will not be military bases as in Germany for example. They will be simple military facilities with a reduced number of troops but which will always be connected to the Romanian army, they will have common training programmes and so on and be ready to discourage hostile actions in the area. EuroNews: The American Senate and the Council of Europe are investigating the supposed CIA detention camps for Al-Qaeda members on Romanian territory. What is your position on this issue raised by Human Rights Watch? Traian Basescu: We don’t have such facilities for CIA in Romania and we are not prepared to accept anybody talking about that. When they talk, they have to know what they are talking about. There was some suspicions regarding our military bases from Mihail Kogalniceanu, we immediately put military bases at the disposal of journalists, of specialists. Later they talk: maybe not in Kogalniceanu, maybe in Timisoara, we open immediately the military bases from Timisoara to be checked by journalists and any commission who would like to visit Romania, informing, checking about such facilities, is free to come.