PM Ponta on regionalization: Other states’ experience useful, but not relived to the letter in Romania

Prime Minister Victor Ponta remarked that regional development is a difficult and lengthy process but that although the relevant experience of EU founding countries is extremely important, it cannot be relived in Romania.

„Romania is not and will never be a federal state like Germany. By tradition, its constitutional and administrative system is similar, yet not entirely identical to that of France. There are experiences we could use. There are difficulties Germany and France have come against and might be encountering even today in this extremely complicated system. There are good ideas we can implement and there are pitfalls we can avoid in the process. I am aware of, yet not discouraged by the difficulty and length of this process, with the latter extending beyond one term of the Parliament or of the government,” the Prime Minister told the seminar on „Regionalization: comparative Franco-German approaches,” organized by the Senate to mark the celebration of 50 years since the singing of the French-German Friendship Treaty at the Elysee Palace.

Prime Minister Ponta underscored that the Government’s option is to work out and implement a regional development project, declaring his conviction that it will be actually adopted and implemented and will not be just another hyped goal that ends up with the conclusion that it is not applicable.

„Let me tell you the reason why I speak about doing it, because when you get into a position of decision, when you have the Parliament and the population’s support and really want to do something, most arguments are against doing it. (…) We reached a joint decision that is shared by many present here not just to find satisfaction in arguments of the kind ‘why not do something’, but rather try to really make some progress and accomplish some reform projects that are absolutely necessary for Romania and are absolutely possible as well,’ said the Premier, emphasizing that one can count on the population’s support for such reform plans.

He said he is convinced of the need for regional development, adding that now, after one year at the helm of the government, he better understands that there are many things a local and regional government can do far better than the central government.

„There are many resources a regional government and a local government can attract and can use far better than a central government. I am equally convinced that people have more confidence, feel much closer to a local administration that costs less and more effectively carries out social services at regional and local level, instead of one acting at national scale. We are in the 21st century, in an age when one does no longer need to hop in a car or on a plane to come to Bucharest from Satu Mare or Botosani, Timisoara or Constanta to solve an administrative problem. We live in a century where a group of public servants at the Ministry of Finance cannot know better than the local or regional government how the financial resources need to be spent,’ was Ponta’s argumentation.

He highlighted the „chronic administrative incapacity’ to absorb EU funds, adding that in this context regional structures proved to be the most efficient in carrying projects through.

Ponta also remarked the utility of talks with European and Romanian experts who contemplate in good faith the creation of an effective administration and are not concerned about the name of the region’s capital city or about the name of the person who will coordinate the region.

The head of the Government pointed out that the experience of Germany, France and other European countries is extremely useful for avoiding mistakes others have made before.

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