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THE NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR THE PREPARATION OF ROMANIA'S ACCESSION TO THE EUROPEAN UNION


1. Romania's accession to the European Union represents a fundamental strategic goal for the Romanian society, This option is based on the convergence of political and social forces and aims at that solid integration of the country into the European system of values, the development of the Romanian society on the democratic and market economy principles so as to assure the social stability and the prosperity of the citizens and of the nation.

The accession has to serve to the promotion of the national interest and to the development of the economic potential and of the Romanian cultural heritage, thus becoming an essential element of the national solidarity.

The option for integration is directly linked to the reform processes taking place in Romania, to the development of a democratic society - rule of law, political pluralism, separation of powers, free elections, respect of human rights, including those of persons belonging to national minorities, creation of a viable economic environment based on competition, characterised by a dynamic macroeconomic stability and compatible with the structures, the legislation and the institutional mechanisms of the European Union.

This option is all the more complex as a double transition has to be accomplished.. to the market economy and to the informational society, aiming at narrowing the gap productivity as compared to the developed countries and at the reversal of this secular tendency.

The Europe Agreement between Romania and the European Union entered into force on February 1, 1995 On that occasion, the Romanian Parliament adopted a Declaration affirming the national will of developing an intensive political dialogue with the European Union, fully implementing the provisions of the Europe Agreement, promoting the free movement of goods, services, capital and workers, as well as of aligning the Romanian legislation to the EU legislation. Another task the Romanian Parliament established for itself was to redirect, by resorting to its specific means, the political, social and economic evolution of our country so that Romania can fulfil as soon as possible the conditions required by the European integration.

Bearing all these in mind, the President of Romania, together with the leaders of the parties represented in the Parliament, both majority and opposition, decided to set up a Commission highly representative for the whole spectrum of the Romanian society to elaborate a national Strategy to prepare the accession of Romania to the European Union.

Romania felt encouraged in this undertaking by the conclusions of the European Council in Copenhagen which decided that the associated countries that so desire and fulfil certain political, social and economic criteria can become members of the European Union. The Strategy adopted in Essen as well as the White Paper on the preparation of the associated countries of Central and Eastern Europe for integration into the internal market provide these countries a concrete perspective and a valuable support in their way towards accession.

Given her economic, human and cultural potential Romania could through her integration into the Union - bring a positive contribution to the creation of a united, stable and prosperous Europe, with an increasing international role.

While applying for membership Romania will direct - in full transparency - its process of preparation so as to assure the strengthening of the rule of law, the acceleration of reforms and insurance of their coherence, the achievement of a developed market economy, the harmonisation with the "acquis communautaire" and the strengthening of the capacity to cope with the responsibilities of a Member State.

Based on the analyses undertaken, the estimation is that through consistent efforts., Romania will be able., similarity to other associated countries., to fulfil the essential conditions for accession by the year2000.

3. In conformity with the Europe Agreement and the Strategy in Essen, actions will be undertaken so as to develop ever closer relations with the European Union, establish the appropriate legal and institutional framework for the economic integration and development, increase trade links, achieve those macroeconomic and structural transformations which are required by the convergence needs.

The national Strategy for the preparation of accession into the European Union envisages the following..

- Full use of the framework provided by the Europe Agreement and the system of the structured relationship. Romania is determined to have a positive role in the dialogue between the European Union institutions and the associated countries particularly on questions of a trans-european dimension, through association to CFSP initiatives, co-operation in the field of general and sectoral policies, mutual information on the goals and instruments of the policies implemented, consultations on policies so as to assure the coherence of objectives and, eventually the co-ordination of actions so as to realise convergence of policies. Romania's accession to the European security structures - conceived in the sense of values promoted by the European Union and by the Western European Union will decisively influence its security and defence policy, aimed at ensuring Romania’s territorial integrity, peace and stability of the region and of the whole continent.

Development of co-operation in the field of justice and home affairs, the harmonisation of provisions and policies in the field of immigration and asylum, the strengthening of co-operation in the field of civil, criminal and police law, particularly regarding the guarantee of citizens security, the fight against organised crime, traffic of stolen goods, drugs and radioactive materials, the establishment of compatible operative structures and bi- and multilateral arrangements with the European Union Member States.

Preparation for integration into the Internal Market, and the efficient use of the opportunities provided by the Europe Agreement and the measures adopted by the European Union for the improvement, in the utilisation of the trade facilities in order to increase the access of Romanian products on the Community market as well as the adaptation of Romanian trade and custom policies to the new framework defined by the association relationship with the European Union. Development of economic relations with other countries with developed market economies will continue to be pursued as well,

Further development of the regional and subregional co-operation and the strengthening of good neighbourly relations, through the conclusion of free-trade agreements with the other associated countries and accession to the Central European Free Trade Area as well as to other regional and sub-regional co-operation structures, the conclusions of the basic political treaties with a# the neighbouring countries, the utilisation of other opportunities provided by the regional and crossborder co-operation.

Development of human contacts, free movement of persons, of business and professional contacts and relations, as well as of the rapprochement among the citizens of Member States in order to strengthen the sentiment of European belonging,. Romania will continue her demarches aimed at facilitating travel and visa procedures for the Romanian citizens and their alignment to the European standards.

Promotion by Romania of a coherent industrial policy, convergent to that of the European Union and focused on competitive advantages and raise of efficiency, through the extension of co-operation with partners from the European Union, the setting up of a competition environment and of a favourable legal framework, in the conditions of privatisation and of selective modernisation and development, in order to ensure qualitative and technological compatibility with the Community industries as well as a high level of employment.

- Linking of the research and development system to the requirements of the process of integration into the European Union and the utilisation of the opportunities offered by the EU programmes in the field, as well as of the new forms of co-operation which will develop during the process of transition towards the informational society.

- Integration into the European energy market and the interconnection of the Romanian energy system to the trans-european energy networks.

Integration of the Romanian transports network into the trans-european networks, priority being given to those crossing Romania.

- Further modernisation of the Romanian communications networks in order to raise the Romanian services to the European and international standards, ensuring a rapid flow of information, through transeuropean networks including computer networks.

Development of that framework which will enable Romania's agriculture-a strategic sector of the national economy to become a competitive sector within an integrated Community market and to ensure the convergence with the specific regulations of the Common Agricultural Policy. These require, inter alia: encouraging performant agricultural units; development and modernisation of distribution networks, of marketing and agricultural management,. restructuring of agricultural production taking into account the specific local conditions and the evolution of the internal and external market.

Promotion of Community investment in Romania,' by improving the legal and institutional framework, including the one regulating foreign investment in line with the Community regulations in the field.

Further modernisation of the Romanian system of education and training, while assuring compatibility with those existing in the European Union as a prerequisite of Romania's participation in the European market of trained labour

Development of co-operation in the field of culture, audio-visual, information and communications in order to promote Romania's cultural heritage and to assure a more active Romanian participation in the pan-European cultural dialogue.

- Formulation of national development policies in line with the Union's policy in environment and life quality. Participation in the solution of regional and transeuropean environment policies.

- Support and development in line with the European policies in the field - of small and medium enterprises, which represent a dynamic sector able to absorb labour, make use of the Romanian private capital and generate new development resources.

- Elaboration and the setting up, in the framework of the EU policies of regional development and co-operation, of national policies and projects of regional and local development to be implemented, including through co-operation with correspondent European regions and localities.

- Promotion, both at the regional and national level, of the protection of mountain zones and the harmonisation with the European approach towards less favoured regions.

- Better use of the potential of the informational society by ensuring an appropriate technical infrastructure, the adequate development of human capital,. the promotion of training in foreign languages.

Romania's irreversible option for integration into the European Union has as primary objective the promotion of a policy of economic development based on p

the national efforts and the international co-operation, able to assure the improvement of the living standard and life quality for the whole population.

4. In accordance with the provisions of the White Paper, 'The Programme of legal approximation for integration into the Internal Market 'Ys being elaborated. It will also provide the mechanism to monitor the implementation of the respective laws.

This Programme,' continuing the approximation process already started, takes into account the time horizon so that the priority measures stipulated in the White Paper for the first stage, be implemented in a 2-3 years period.

The legal approximation regarding the integration into the internal market, stipulated in the Programme, represents a priority and will be in direct correlation with the process of economic reform, constituting a factor for is acceleration.

In this context, an absolute priority will be given to the adoption, in 1995, of indispensable regulations for the functioning of the market economy in fields such as: competition, state aid, monopolies, public enterprises, financial services.

The Programme is structured on the 23 sectors stipulated by the White Paper and provides measures as follows:

a) The guarantee of free movement of capital

The approximation of Romania's legislation with the EU legislation in the field provided by the White Paper represents a necessity for Romania's preparation for accession, for industrial restructuring and that of other sector of the economy, for the privatisation, including rational use of natural resources and better use of both material and human potential of the nation.

Taking into account the dynamics of capital movement in the last two decades in the World economy, the subsequent decrease of transaction costs, the amplification of international competition regarding the capital flows and the crucial importance of the liberalisation measures aimed at attracting foreign capital, measures will be taken to facilitate the development of a competitive financial sector.

The framework for foreign investments, currency regime, the reform of the banking system, the development of the real estate market has already been set up,,, the development of the legal and banking infrastructure, the diversification of the financial instruments and, particularly, the insurance of a stable macroeconomic environment and the setting up of a framework of appropriate instruments of economic policies are still to be established.

Measures in this respect - in accordance with the specific Directives of May 11, 1960, December 18, 1962, and November 17, 1986 - are about to be adopted.

b) The guarantee of free movement of goods

Measures were adopted concerning the approximation of Romanian legislation to the EU legislation aiming at ensuring the fluidity of trade and the progressive integration of Romania into the EU economy, including the better use of the access conditions to the EU market established by the present relationship framework between Romania and the EU.

In the same context, the development in Romania of a competitive economic environment in conformity with the EU legislation will be further continued, ensuring free access to the markets, guaranteeing the freedom of choice,' preventing the distortion of the competition and sanctioning the unfair competition. These requirements will be applied both to the private and public sector, with due consideration to the consumer protection.

Of the laws provided by the White Paper 10 in the field of agriculture; 9 in the field of custom tariffs and supratax; 2 in the field of consumer protection have already been approximated.

The remaining ones provided in the White Paper will be harmonised as follows:

- the ones for the first stage in 1996- 1997,-

- the ones for the second stage until 1999.

c) The guarantee of the free movement of services

The process of legal approximation in the field will take into account the particular dynamics and the role of services as integration factor, including their direct contribution to the achievement of the other freedoms. The harmonisation of technical norms according to EU regulations will represent an important asset in the integration process, for Romania's connection to the European communication area and for facilitating trade and co-operation.

The development and the diversification of financial services, through further modernising the banking sector, developing the markets of capital and an insurance system based on regulations and recording, discounting and deposit mechanisms, ensuring a full transparency, an orderly development of transactions and the protection of the investors' interests.

The process of approximation is on its way. 9 laws were harmonised in the field of telecommunications,. 4 in the field of transports,. 6 in the field of financial, banking and accounting services.

Other essential regulations in the field stipulated in the White Paper will be harmonised as following.. the ones for the first stage - in 1995- 1996,- the ones for the second stage - until 1999.

d) The guarantee of free movement of persons

The legal approximation will aim at facilitating the business as well as cultural, scientific and professional contacts, asserting the cultural and spiritual identity of the Romanian people in the European and the international framework The free movement of persons, which is one of the human fundamental freedoms, equally represents a way of promoting the other freedoms of movement.

The free movement of persons appears to be an essential element in the transition period, aiming at getting the Romanian citizens accustomed with the EU functioning, policies and mechanisms. This is a very important part of the process of preparation for accession and alignment to the EU procedures and laws, as well as to the European democracy and "ideas " the Romanian citizen were separated during the totalitarian regime. In this context, the legal and regulations framework of the EU partners will be taken into account, which, in their turn, are to take the appropriate measures in order to facilitate the movement of persons as a part of a mutual effort.

The legislation regarding the movement of persons will also take into account the setting up of the appropriate framework in order to ensure a close co-operation with respect to immigration, asylum, illegal traffic and terrorism.

The approximation process in the field is staffing and the regulations stipulated by the White Paper will be harmonised as following the ones for the first stage - until 1996, the ones for the second stage - until 1997

Important laws for ensuring the four freedoms were either adopted - such as the VA T - or submitted to the Parliament for adoption - such as the competition and the intellectual property laws.

5. In the process of approximation a particular attention is given to the institutional framework and mechanisms which will assure the implementation of laws. When they do not already exist implementation mechanisms will be set up and become operational within a period of three months.

Six months after the entering into force of the laws, the Interministry Committee for European Integration WII evaluate their implementation. Such evaluations will periodically take place afterwards.

According to the Government's Decision nr. 140 of March 9, 1995, no legislation project or new regulation can be submitted without a certificate attesting the conformity with the EU legislation in the field.

6. In the process of preparation for accession the Government encourages and support initiatives and actions at non-governmental level aimed at the increase of the awareness by the public opinion, the political factors and the media of the problems and implications of the integration, thus helping to promote the "European idea in the Romanian society.

the setting up of associations, NG0s, foundations and institutes with preoccupations in integration and European policy as well as the development of their relations with similar structures from the EU countries is encouraged.

To the same end, the National Consultative Council for Euro-Atlantic integration, consisting of representatives of parties represented in the Parliament, was established in 1993.

The strengthening of the European dimension of training at all levels is envisages. Training of experts and administrations of the relations with the European Union, particularly in the field of law, economy and Community practice in general will be largely extended.

At the same time, taking into account the important weight of the non-governmental and professional relations in the European policies, measures will be adopted for encouraging contacts and relation between Romanian representative structures and similar EU or Member States' structures (professional, cultural, scientific associations, syndicates, trade unions etc.) as well as the participation of economic operators, particularly of small and medium enterprises, in specific programmes and activities initiated by the European Union.

Special programmes will be performed in order to familiarise the Romanian society with EU regulations, procedures and practices, as well as with the obligations derived from the Europe Agreement and from other legal acts regarding the relations between Romania and the European Union in the pre-accession period,. these could contribute to a better perception in Europe of Romania, of her citizens and of the obligations she assumed.

The preparation of the integration is equally directed to the development and the strengthening of the civil protection regulation system as well as of rules meant to ensure the transparency and the efficient and responsible functioning of local and central public administration bodies in order to promote national and local traditions, the principles and norms of behaviour of European democracy.

7 The implementation of the provisions of the Europe Agreement, the Essen Strategy and the White Paper as well as the implementation of the National Strategy for the preparation of the accession of Romania to the European Union will be carried out in close co-operation with the European Commission and the Member States, within a partnership relation. The PHARE programme as well as the assistance of G24 countries and of the IFIS (BIRD, EBRD, EIB, IMF) is of particular importance in this respect.

Given Romania's relatively high absorption capacity and taking into account that an improved system for the management of PHARE assistance will be put in place, Romania will strive for the increase from 14-15 to 18 percent of its share in the PHARE funds. This would better correspond to the PHARE criteria for resource allocation.

The following measures are envisaged so as to assure a more efficient use of the assistance received the setting up of an institutional framework which will enable better co-ordination and programming of the projects, with increased impact on the economic development,

- the improvement in assistance management and a more efficient and rapid use of funds while assuring the integration of the assistance both bilateral and multilateral into the accession strategy,.

- the development of the national consultancy capabilities and a larger involvement of Romanian experts in the management and implementation of projects.

B. A institutional mechanism was set up for the management of the Europe Agreement and of the National Strategy for the preparation of accession. This mechanism which is already operational consists of the following structures:

The Interministry Committee set up an the basis of a decision (14019. 03.1995) of the Government This Committee is chaired by the Prime Minister and is composed of the Cabinet member and heads of other governmental agencies with responsibilities in the field of integration.

- The Department for European Integration, co-ordinated by the Prime Minister. Set up by the governmental decision nr. 14119.03.95, the Department co-ordinates the whole process of preparation for Romania's accession into the European Union, including legal approximation. Together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce, the Department assures the Secretariat of the Interministry Committee as well as the functioning of the Association Committee

Special Units for European integration Within all governmental institutions (departments) having as the main task the supervision, monitoring, control, analysis and evolution in the respective field.

The governmental integration mechanism will be adapted to the dynamic of the integration process, drawing upon the experience of other countries as well.

At the level of the Parliament, a joint Committee for European integration was set up. This Committee will monitor the legal approximation as well as the relations with the European Parliament, within the Parliamentary Association Committee. An important role is to be played by the other committees of the Parliament.

A Legislative Council was recently created and will become operational in 1995. A special department for legal approximation will function within the Council

The training of personnel, including future negotiations also falls into the tasks of the mechanism described above. A special training programme was elaborated in this respect.

The Strategy defines the framework, the objectives as well as the directions for actions at the national level aiming at the preparation of the accession of Romania into the European Union. Framework programmes will be elaborated on this basis for all 23 sectors provided for in the white Paper Programmes of specific measures will also be implemented taking into account the sectorial studies and strategies, elaborated within the National Commission as well as those produced by the European Union with regard to the integration of the associated countries.


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