"The fundamental role of mass-media in bringing the EU
closer to the European citizens"
The role of the mass media in building Europe and its challenge
in respect to the comprehension of the complexity of the European
Union evolved around two fundamental topics:
"Romania’s image as reflected in the European
mass-media, mainly the French"
Several voices agreed that often in the French press, the negative
remarks were due to a lack of information, but that when the journalist
was well informed, the image of Romania was rather positive, that
of a Latin country. (Luc de Barochez). As far as “Europe
- the other image, that of immigration, the mafias, the trans-border
crime ", it represents a real threat for the European construction
… Romania was compared to Portugal, as Portugal was not
represented either in a positive fashion, apart from aspects related
to its tourism. Allison Mutler from the Associated Press stressed
on the realities of today’s Romania, among which a real
lack of freedom of the press, a serious matter for a candidate
at the European Union. Professor Jacques Barrat witnessed a real
progress in the Romanian mass-media during the last twelve years
and has mentioned similarities with the comprehension by the public
of the European Union in the two countries.
These debates called for the need to set up trainings for the
Romanian journalists on European Affairs. Mr. Yves-Claude Lorca,
Director AFP Romania offered his support for the Ithaka foundation’s
“EU Awareness” programme to train European journalists
in Romania and to create French-Romanian press networks.
As far as Quentin Dickinson, he has spoken about the need for
integrating "Europe” in the school curriculums, starting
with the primary school”, as well as multiplying “the
field work" (i.e. our Bucharest event), similar in scope,
but different in its outreaching capacity from the dry, institutional
matters, as it is user-friendly and allows stakeholder with similar
interests to create networks and include the province more in
what is usually kept as a phenomenon of the capital city.
Follow-up: The Ithaka Foundation and its partners will continue
to organise conferences and training sessions for the journalists
selected within the framework of the programme EU Awareness",
as well as reinforcing the European networks.
“The Future of Europe: The European constitution, European
Identities and citizenship”
In this workshop, t he debate focussed mainly on the EU convention
and the Constitutional Treaty, often absent from the public arena,
both in Romania, and in the member states. In this context, Romania
represents a European normality, according to Mr. Adrian Severin,
who has saluted the initiative of the Ithaka Foundation to support
the contribution of young Rumanian via a "book" channel
and in a European context, especially taking into account the
fact that the Romanian mass-media has reflected very scarcely
the EU Convention. Mr. Severin has also expressed his dissension
with the existence of a European Commissioner to represent each
member state, he spoke about the weak role played by the mass-media
and the European public opinion in respect to the EU Constitution,
the only exception being the UK, which presented the EU Constitution
with a lot of enthousiasm, comparing to its outcome, still on
Romania as well constitutes an exception with regard to its
enthousiasm for its European membership and its European identity.
This might be caused by an identity crisis, as well as to the
lack of knowledge of what is the European Union. The strongest
reason for this emulation of enthousiasm is nonetheless, the crisis
of the Romanian identity, a crisis which we can notice more and
more since the fall of the communism in 1990, according to both
Mrs. Capelle-Pogacean from CERI, France, and M. Vasilescu, the
Editor-in chief of Dilema Veche.
Members of the political opposition, namely Mr. Constantin Teleaga
from the Popular Action political party have mentioned the political
criteria, not respected in Romania. This calls for a deeper sense
of a severe moral crisis lying at the heart of the Romanian political
community, situation which is far from the European construction,
as thought of by Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman.
"European security and transatlantic solidarities"
In spite of the sombre atmosphere of the Madrid tragedy, the
debate was dominated by certain optimism in respect with the possibility
of finding agreements over the current security threats. We do
not have too advanced on the future of the reinforced co-operation;
Europe has still a long way to make.
The specificity of European interests in certain parts of the
world was underlined, as being solely different from the American
interests, in particular the Middle-East, or the ex-Yugoslavia,
according to Dominique David from IFRI. These interests would
very unlikely ever converge. The reinforcement of transatlantic
bonds and the Romanian challenge in this context was thoroughly
presented by Professor Miscoiu from Cluj, as representing a longer-term
stanza. The current state of affairs, according to him, is due
by the Bush administration, and not by a UD foreign policy tradition.
The terrorist attacks which have recently taken place in Madrid
reinforce the need for a combined transatlantic- European solidarity.
The design and implementation of a European structure of action
against terrorism is urgent. Professor Stefanachi from Iasi highlighted
the strenuous period in the EU/transatlantic relations, as a consequence
of the Bush administration, and reiterated his confidence in a
balanced relationship in the future. Romania could play its role
for that. The conclusion of the debate was that of the need for
a decision concerning the future of the European defence system
in the short/ the long term, and the actions that need to be taken
urgently during the months to come, which will hopefully allow
the implementation of an effective strategy to face the contemporary
global security threats.
Mr. Mircea Dan Geoana, the Foreign Minister of Romania has
greeted the initiative of the two foundations, gave special thanks
to the numerous students from the province and ensured the official
closure . Through a tonic speech, he has underlined the emergency
to redefine, with the assistance of the young generations a Romanian
identity, maybe using the 1848 inspiration. The new generation
is called upon to provide a closure to what is still « o
pribegie identitara şi un chin national » , a
wandering identity and a national torment, thus fulfilling the
historical destiny of Romania: joining its European family.
Mrs. Ramona Calin, the President of the Ithaka Foundation has
thanked the participants again, especially the students: their
effectiveness proves already their enthousiasm which will ensure
Romania its deserved place within the most ambitious project from
the turn of its century: the redefinition of the European Union,
and Romania’s adoption of the European values, very much
needed by the Romanian society. While expressing the Ithaka Foundation’s
concern for the state of affairs of today’s Romania and
in agreement with the latest report of the European Parliament,
mainly: the fight against the endemic corruption, the need to
adapt the Romanian administration to European standards and the
necessity to create a real “etat de droit”. Mrs. Calin
has reiterated the Foundation’s ambition to work towards
reversing the state of today’s civil society in Romania:
a substantial but divided one, with scarce platforms for EU debate.
Via the channel of the young generations, Mrs. Calin has expressed
her satisfaction to have been able to give a chance to the Romanian
students to express their work at the EU Youth Convention via
the publication “New Words for Europe”, a tool that
the Ithaka foundation will use to promote a “different”
Romania, nationally and in Europe.
"New words for Europe: the Romanian youth as an actor
of integration "
On the second day, the debate was opened by Mr. Jean-Dominique Giuliani
who has encouraged the Romanian students to not perceive themselves
as second-class, citizens; “the EU citizens’ equality
is the landmark and basis of the European citizenship. This value
needs to reflect itself in the conscience of all EU citizens, old
Mr. Erwann Dumont, a student from Sciences Po – Paris
currently in an exchange programme in Bucharest, based his presentation
on the strong “Europeaneness of this ex-Communist country.
Romania can only reinforce the European citizenship and the European
Union. Discussing EU enlargement during the “final days”
of the drafting the Convention on the Future Europe brings along
the values stated for by the founders of Europe - the first being
democracy, a value on which Romania needs to continue working.
Ms. Gabriela Otoiu, a Romanian student, regretted the fact that
various regional associations of Romania with other international
organisations are often just agreements aiming either at preparing
the integration into the EU, or ways to mitigate the fact that
Romania is not a member yet.
Ms. Andreea Zamfira, another Romanian student pointed out that
progress ought to be carried out in respect to European policies
in the areas of the minorities’ rights.
Mrs. Rus Bojan presented her activity in the Network of the
Art Centres in Cluj, expressing her regret in respect to the lack
of follow-up of the Romanian government in respect to cultural
Follow-up: The Ithaka Foundation and its partners will organise
a similar event in Paris this summer, in the presence of the Romanian
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mircea Geoana who is very sensitive
to the cause of the excellent Romanian students. We envisage the
organisation of this event in partnership with the European Movement
"The necessary mobilization of the private sector in
favour of the EU enlargement"
Mr. Matei Paun has presented "Think Tank Romania"
an association, which mobilises young Romanian “repatriates”,
with an international exposure, who has returned to Romania, and
are offering, through the civil society channel, economic and
Mr. François Oliver, the Executive Director of Carrefour
Romania has presented the success story of Carrefour in Bucharest
and its prospects for growth nationally. He has stressed the role
young professionals have plaid in achieving success, and the strategy
that Carrefour uses through the IFRG- the French-Romanian Management
Institute. Many of the mostly young women recruits of Carrefour
have been trained in IFRG.
“Private public partnerships should not mean an omnipresence
of the State, especially in a country such as Romania that must
endeavour to draw a line on its communist past.” Has stated
Mr. Andre Ferrand, a French MP.
Mr. Alexandru Popa, the Romanian Prime Minister’s economic
advisor has mentioned, among other things, the construction of
a motorway towards Hungary, which would have been impossible without
the support of the Romanian government, which is working closely
with all actors involved.
Replying to this challenge, Mr. Alexis Gressier, representing
the ISPA programme of the EU Delegation in Romania has stated
that within the framework of the EU procedures, a certain numbers
of rules and regulations are compulsory and necessary in order
to build a real interior market. These rules, often difficult
to implement , often contested concern the procedures of tendering
for public procurements, according to those principles of competition
"Think Tank Romania" estimated that as long as there
is no coherent legislative framework for the private-public partnerships,
the current situation in Romania has a negative impact on the
market, creating a climate for corruption, rather than improving
the socio-economic framework of Romania and to support its integration
in the European Union.
Follow-up: The Ithaka Foundation wishes to launch
this year the OSCR- the Observatory for Social Corporate Responsibility,
in partnership with the Stability Pact for South East of Europe,
its partners of the private sector and other stakeholder.
Our conference was a success especially thanks to the mobilisation
of the young students who have responded quickly to our appeal.
We thank them, and promise them that this is only the beginning
of a beautiful project dedicated to the Romanian youth, in the
perspective of United Europe. We also extend our thanks to the
French Ambassador, Mr. Philippe Etienne; without whose contribution,
this meeting would have not been possible.