President Basescu: Romania’s objective is to win the office of European commissioner for agriculture
‘What we need now is a major diplomatic effort, which I hope will be equally accompanied by the efforts of the Foreign Ministry, and mine is a major diplomatic effort, for Romania to win the agriculture portfolio.
And I can tell you that I have been very candid with all the European Union ambassador who attended the meeting this June: I have informed them of our intention and I have already talked with some heads of state or governments and agreed with them on the support required for Romania to win this portfolio.
I want you to clearly understand: if Romania wins this portfolio in the European Commission, the holder of the portfolio will not be able to make a policy dedicated to Romania, but that would be a sign of recognising first the agricultural potentials of Romania and secondly that would be a rightful political placing of Romania within the European Commission,’ the President said.
Basescu added that Romania considers the agriculture portfolio to be highly important and its allies to be first the countries supporting the current European policy of agricultural subsidies.
The President also pointed to a phenomenon of migration, particularly of young people from urban to rural areas, either because they want to become efficient farmers or because they have lost all opportunities in the city.
‘I do not see pauper rural areas. The impression you may get when travelling through Romanian villages is that something is changing.
It is indisputable that the Romanian villages have entered a process of modernisation that follows a normal progress that was generated, not least at this stage, by hundreds of thousands of people from the rural areas working abroad and remitting funds home, where they build homes for themselves, and on the other hand by the European programmes that are staring to shape up,’ he said.
The President also mentioned the presidential board in charge with drawing up a medium and long-term strategy in the area of agriculture, pointing out that there are two economic fields for which Romania has excellent natural capital: agriculture and tourism.
He voiced optimism over the fact that solutions will be found that will develop the irrigation network and cushion the shock of costs, which producers have so far weathered well thanks to irrigation subsidies but have now to bear following the coming into force of the relevant European Union rules that strike out energy and water subsidies.
The President also reiterated his regret that Romania no longer has an agricultural bank.
On the other hand, he remarked that vegetables are much cheaper at hypermarkets than in the traditional market places, adding that these retail traders do not stock fruit and vegetables from Romanian farmers because there is a lack of regional warehouses.
Basescu said Romania has self-destroyed its pork production but in some years’ time it will become again an exporter in this field.
He also argued that one of the big problems facing the Romanian producers is the fact that not all of them get to associate, which would help them win European funds.