Delivered in Plenary - 14th December 2005
I believe Romania remains on track for accession by 1 January 2007. However, the new government must continue reforming the judiciary, upholding media freedom, enabling property restitution, protecting minorities and children and fighting organised crime. Particular attention must also be paid to the reform of public administration and the fight against corruption, including delivery on the promise of indictments of high-level officials alleged to have committed serious offences.
The situation of disabled and mentally ill people is also of concern. Romania’s control of its borders and collection of customs dues – with the settlement of the Snake Island dispute in the Black Sea – is important, as is improving food hygiene, environmental pollution and intellectual property protection. However, Romania’s recent handling of the avian flu outbreak was excellent. Romania continues to comply with the criterion of being a functioning market economy, but there are still concerns on state aid and bankruptcy laws.
Lastly, I want to raise the tragic issue of international adoptions, which affects hopeful parents from the European Union, the United States and Israel. I urge the Romanian Government to consider concluding these adoptions, in particular the 1 100 pipeline cases of orphans and abandoned children for whom caring foreign families had registered adoption petitions prior to the January 2005 ban. That ban was largely brought about at the request of the European Union, eager to clean up a previously chaotic and sometimes corrupt system. The UN Convention on the Child does not forbid international adoption. It simply makes it the last permanent solution. The Romanian Government should seriously reconsider the heartless position it is currently maintaining.