1st February 2013
CVM + IMF = 4%
There are two fundamental planks of reform in Romania, on which the Romanian authorities are engaged in commitments to the International Financial Institutions and to their EU partners – the Stand-By Agreement with the IMF (plus the World Bank and EU) and the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism for tackling corruption and judicial reform with the EU. This week has seen a stock-take of both programmes.
The IMF’s mission recorded important progress on fiscal consolidation in Romania in 2012 bringing down public debt and managing the budget deficit. Romania now has figures on public debt that would be the envy of many other EU Member States. This is particularly impressive in what was an election year. The IMF also pointed to the need for more progress in reforming state-owned enterprises. These are present in some of the most promising areas of the economy like energy and chemicals, but they are a drag on economic growth when they should be a driver. Putting them under private management, and bringing in new investment from the City of London through public offerings on the stock exchange should be a priority for the first half of this year.
Similarly on the CVM, the European Commission records important progress in a difficult year. The High Court continued to finalise long-standing high-level corruption cases. The Constitutional Court’s rulings were implemented, and the National Integrity Agency continued its work to strengthen ethics in public life. There’s been good news too at the start of this year, with legislation on the distribution of work in the courts clearing the way for the Civil Procedural Code to enter into force.
Looking ahead, the new Parliament needs to lead in taking forward Romania’s Anti-Corruption Strategy. The new law on the Status of Deputies and proposed Code of Conduct offer an opportunity to ensure that requests to lift immunity are addressed in a timely and transparent fashion, and for the Parliament to demonstrate unequivocally that law makers are not above the law. I also hope that the various actors involved in the process can come together to ensure the appointment of strong, independent professionals at the helm of the General Procuracy and the DNA.
We will continue to help where we can, under the ‘Cooperation’ part of the CVM. We’ve been building expertise in the procuracy on asset recovery, capacity in the Ministry of Health on integrity issues and hosted a visit by Romania’s parliament to Westminster last November which allowed for an exchange on Codes of Conduct.
Why should we Care Very Much about the CVM? De ce trebuie sa avem un Foarte Mare Interes în succesul FMI? Because these two programmes can make all the difference to Romania’s future economic growth. In a couple of years’ time Romania could be growing at 4% a year and catching up with the rest of Europe. Or not. These programmes can release Romania’s economic potential, attract investors from the UK and elsewhere and reverse the decline in Romania’s competitiveness. CVM + IMF = 4%