RJEA, Vol. 2, nr. 2, Iulie 2002


National Development Plans and Pre-accession Structural Funds: Learning from the Experiences of Ireland

John Bradley

As it moves towards the new millennium, the Irish economy is impressive not only because of the extent/speed of the transformation and of its growth performance but also due to the fascinating effectiveness in implementing the Structural Funds programmes. In this respect, the article explores the role of the Structural Funds in Ireland within three separate themes: institutional and organisational aspects of EU funds; procedures and instruments associated with EU funds; interrelations of monitoring, evaluation and management of EU funds. Even though, not all aspects of the Irish experience are likely to be equally relevant to Central and Eastern European policy makers and analysts, it is important to learn the essentials of the Irish case. Presumably one of the most important lessons, considering the new challenges of the Central and Eastern European Countries, is that the active structural policy pursued was decisively coupled with sound macroeconomic policies. Thus, Ireland demonstrates today what can be achieved if Structural Funds assistance is integrated into a coherent domestic policy which, in particular, maintains healthy macroeconomic conditions and which is supported by social consensus.

Keywords: Central and Eastern Europe, Ireland, structural funds

The European Union as a Global Player: Prospects and Challenges

Lazar Comanescu

Strengthening the external action of the Union has emerged as a powerful expectation shared both by a large majority of members of the Convention on the future of Europe, and more significantly by public opinion when it has been consulted on this issue. Although there is a consensual desire for Europe to speak with a stronger voice in global affairs, the ways and means to achieve this objective still divide those called to clarify the path to be followed. The European Union is already a significant presence in world politics by its considerable share in the international trade, or its dominant contribution to development aid. Many criticise on the other hand the lack of consistency in the more classical dimensions of foreign policy, or the lack of credibility in the capacity to act attributed to the absence of defence capabilities. Such concerns are currently addressed in the larger debate on the future of Europe, either within the dedicated framework, the European Convention convened to design the future of the EU, or outside the Convention, both among politicians and academics. It is generally considered and accepted that Europe will gain in political influence once the unification of the continent is completed, i.e. the current enlargement objectives are achieved. It goes without saying that devising and making operational appropriate instruments and capacities to act coherently outside its borders are a necessity as well. Institutional guarantees that Europe could in the future continue to influence the course of events in world affairs are becoming imperative. This article will explore some of the proposals in that sense. It will also address the place for Romania as a future EU member state in the new architecture of Europe and its possible contribution to the Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Keywords: Common Foreign and Security Policy, European Union, globalization, Romania

The Process of Accession to the EU - the Case of Romania

Enrico Grillo Pasquarelli

This paper is the edited version of the speech given by Mr Enrico Grillo Pasquarelli at the European Institute of Romania on April 12, 2002. In his speech, Mr. Pasquarelli analyzes Romania’s situation in the larger context of the EU enlargement. The main argument throughout the speech is that accession is not about negotiations and transposition of the legislation, but it is about preparations at home. The lack of proper implementation and enforcement of EU conform legislation may result in a paper-only exercise which will further weaken the administrative capacity, resulting in the end in the inability of the Romanian economy to withstand competition in the Single Market. Romania still has to make progress in a number of areas such as civil service reform, independence of judiciary, corruption, environment, and economic reform, including agriculture. Positive developments can be noticed as well, such as a greater civic and democratic maturity of the Romanian society, and progress towards macroeconomic stability.

Keywords: accession, EU enlargement, Romania

Moving the Signpost: Good Governance and Development in the Context of Public Access to Information

Corneliu Bjola

In both economic and political terms, Romania lags behind most of the CEE developing countries. This situation deteriorates on a constant basis and is largely accounted for by very poor governance practices. The solution proposed by this study consists of recommending the implementation of a reformist agenda of e-governance based on two pillars: robust development of public sector information and large-scale application of Information and Communication Technologies. In conceptual terms, this strategy is assumed to produce a gradual shift from the citizen-as-customer to the more participative citizen-as-shareholder model of governance. In concrete terms, the medium-term benefits of this policy are political (enhancing the democratization process, increasing political accountability, and improving the tattered government-citizen relationship), economic (combating corruption, creating a transparent and competitive economic environment, and speeding up standard administrative processes for citizens and business), and social (restoring public trust, rebuilding social capital, and increasing the transparency, quality and efficiency of public services).

Keywords: Central and Eastern Europe, development, government, information, Romania

The Future of Europe Convention: Travelling Hopefully?

Kirsty Hughes

The future of Europe Convention is now three months into its task of finding answers to the challenges and questions of the Laeken declaration. The central issue for the Convention is whether it can find a route through the multitude of questions and create a strong consensus on substantive answers to the three big challenges of democratizing the EU, organizing the politics and policies of the enlarged EU, and developing the EU’s voice in the world. The enlarged EU of 25 or more members has to be able to cope in both democratic and efficiency terms with the increased numbers of member states, and increased diversity in economic and political interests and circumstances. The status quo is not an option or the enlarged EU will rapidly find its decision-making and operational mechanisms seizing up - it will be a stalled and inefficient EU. The politics of the Convention are unfolding slowly and a myriad of political alignments are emerging. But some key differences are emerging already - particularly the traditional battle between intergovernmentalists and integrationists. The relative role and powers of the Council and Commission will be central in determining the nature of the future EU. Fundamental reform of both institutions is vital in both efficiency and democratic terms. One of the big risks is that energy is concentrated on the relative power of the two institutions and not on their effective reform. Proposals for a new, five-year, appointed President of the European Council go in this direction - they will not improve legitimacy and precisely duplicate the characteristics of the current Commission President. The paper identifies 5 scenarios for the future EU to summarize the potential outcomes of different sets of decisions by Convention and IGC: emergent global political power; struggling global power; efficient but weak EU; efficient but unstable EU; technocratic, stalled and inefficient EU.

Keywords: European Commission