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Interview with Ms. Ramona Mănescu

Interview with Ms. Ramona Mănescu, Vicepresident of the National Authority for Youth and PNL candidate for the European Parliament

Your resume shows your participation in numerous political and professional projects while in your private life you are a happily married lady with two children. Can a modern and ambitious woman have a successful political career without sacrificing the family life?
I strongly believe in the family life values, meaning strong bonds between grandparents, parents, husband, children and hopefully grandchildren. I married Rareş (businessman and liberal politician) in 1995. He is the son of Virgil Mănescu, a Ph.D. holder in Law at the prestigious Université de Sorbonne, a university professor and a former leader of the Liberal Party after the WWII. My father-in-law was one of the many patriotic and self-giving young Romanians who sacrificed themselves for the sake of liberal and national aspirations of their ill-fated generation. Arrested by the Communists shortly after the abolishment of the monarchy, he was imprisoned in the Gulag for 17 years. Afterwards, this very skilled person continued to be humiliated and unemployed by the Communist regime of Ceauşescu, the only source of income beeing occasional private French lessons to young students. I am very grateful to my husband for not trying to impose on me goals of grandeur and for his full support for my academic, political and solicitor tasks. I should also like to emphasize the fact that we complement each other very well and I am very proud of my marital life. I have met many women who prefer career and consider family life as unachievable or time consuming. I fully understand their need for professional success and appreciation but I encouraged them and I will continue to do so to never give up on the priceless project of building a loving marriage and family.

Few Romanian politicians know how to accept criticism. We ask you to share with us a self-evalution in terms of political achivements and failures up to date. Also we would like you to share with our readers your political goals for the near future and the means to achieve them.
While a freshman student at the Law School, I was attracted by the Roman concept of cursus honorum meaning the step-by-step ascension to power based on rigor and merit. In real life, I was succesively president of the PNL Youth Organisation of Bucharest 6th  district, International Relations Officer for the PNL Youth Organisation, vicepresident of the PNL Youth Organisation, vicepresident of IFLRY, domestic and international positions which allowed me to enlarge my leadership skills and expertise at the political youth levels. Right now, I am a member of the of PNL Bucharest 6th  district’s Bureau and vicepresident of the National Authority for Youth (ANT) in the liberal cabinet of prime minister Tăriceanu. The main achivements of my mandate as vicepresident of ANT would be the reabilitation of the Youth Program, the coordination and screening of ANSIT (the National Agency for Youth Initiative Support) and ASS (the Agency for Student Support), the organization of national and European events (the European Youth Week, the Youth NGO’ s Fair, the Youth Parliament, the multicultural reunion within the A.C.T.! – Authorities. Cooperation. Twining! Project and many other). As a consequence, the initial yellow warning flag for the youth policies’ adoption and implementation status became a green flag, facilitating Romania’s ascension to EU as scheduled, on January 1st, 2007. But all this came with a personal price because despite my aspiration to pursue a Ph.D. program in International Law, I was not able to fit it in my daily schedule. From political ambitions’ viewpoint, I want to run for European Parliament in the fall elections on behalf of my party, the PNL. My eligibility will depend on both the overall performance of the Liberal Party and on my capacity to persuade young voters that I intend to promote their interests as European citizens.

Let’s focus now on your political offer for the Romanian electorate, taking into account the fierce opposition that your are about to receive from the candidates (PD and PSD) affiliated with the two European mainstream political forces, the Popular Party and the Socialist Party.
My political offer is based on the promotion of the contemporary liberal values, the very ones the european integration is been based on. Unfortunately, due to a very long post-Communism transition with Neocommunist inflections, the liberal reforms started to be implemented in Romania only on Western pressure. Since 2005 and the PNL arrival in power, Romania joined the emergent economies group by striving for an investment-friendly environment, low taxation, reduction of public deficit and inflation, which would lead to sustanaible development. These liberal initiatives differ very much from the propagandistic and chaotic measures typical for the PSD-style of government and I would like you to remember the recent privatizations with monopolistic provisions (Petrom, EADS – the frontier securization, the Bechtel highway), very hard to challenge from the legal viewpoint. For me the core interest is the one of the younger generations because they represent the future of Romania. The EU Charter of the Fundamental Rights should be applied equally to the Romanian citizens, new members of the European community but as rightful as old European citizens. The improvement of the education, healthcare and  justice systems, the bettter protection of the environment and a attractive labormarket represent national top priorities, quintessential in limiting the emigration. Regardless of who is going to be in power in Bucharest, I shall always act on behalf of keeping the right track of reforms in accordance to the European integration dynamics. Also, I will due my best to consolidate the European voice and relevance of Romania in the European institutions. A small taskforce of young and talented specialists is already helping me in preparing the electoral campaign and the priorities ahead. I am not afraid of competition, but I expect from de PD and PSD candidates political offers based on personal competence and doctrinal relevance. I am different because I do not seek a juicy, undemanding job in the European Parliament but the opportunity to act for the benefit of the European citizens. I also intend to keep my open-door approach towards all. It worked fine with the ANT and my previous positions, it should work the same with the European MP status.

But what about the national parliaments holding a firm grip on primacy, about the rejection of the Constitutional Treaty, about the democratic deficit, or about the decisive role of the EU Concil in the detriment of the European Parliament. Is the European Parliament a relevant institution for the Romanian citizens? They will vote in the fall for the first time, maybe with high  presence rates to the polls, but does it matter or is just another show off?
Tough questions. The European integration has always varied between europtimism and euroskepticism, between interguvernamentalism and federalism. We have to wait and see if the Romanians truly wish for the achivement of the United States of Europe. The Eurobarometers constantly portray Romanians as the most Eurooptimistic people among the EU nations but the hard times are just ahead. The adaptation to the internal market and the absorbtion of the structural and cohesion funds will take their toll, negatively speaking. The political elites have the moral duty to inform constantly and precisely on the primary reasons of Romanian membership to the EU. From another viewpoint, I would like to disagree with you about the powers of the European Parliament. The European legislative has constantly rised to power and the best proof is the equal footing with the EU Council as concerns the main procedure of codecision. More than this, the younger European citizens appear to be more and more interested in this new identity of free movement of persons and profesions, on euro and prosperity seeking. The European Parliament and the national parliaments are not in competion and they have to work jointly to define and implement the European well beeing concomitently with preserving national identities.

by George Angliţoiu

Publicat în : English  de la numărul 47
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