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Prime minister Călin Popescu Tăriceanu: Romanians are faced with a fundamental choice for their future, a choice between the Left and the Right”

Călin Popescu Tăriceanu, a founding member of the National Liberal Party, has been heading the Government since January 2005. Under his leadership, the current government has been regarded by some European leaders as the best performing in post-communist Romania. During Călin Popescu Tăriceanu’s term in office, our country has been witnessing steady economic growth, with a peak of over 9% this year, at a time when Europe is affected by recession. One conclusion is self-evident: Premier Călin Popescu Tăriceanu and his Cabinet have achieved major performances while in power.

Which is, in your opinion, the explanation for your having seen through your mandate as a Prime minister, in spite of recurrent political crises and of the huge pressure on the Government?
When I look back at the past 4 years, I see Romania’s accession to the European Union, the unprece­dented economic growth, the effects of the flat tax rate and of other liberal measures, the doubling of salaries and pension benefits. I think of the people whom I met in Bucharest, Piteşti, Titu, Craiova, Bacău, Iaşi, Cluj, Sibiu, Constanţa and other cities, and who told me they were proud to be Romanians.
These facts and performances and beyond question, and they make all political attacks or pressure look ridiculous. At a personal level, the friendship and warmth that I was offered when speaking with Roma­nians are a lot more important than the tension of certain conflicting political incidents.
In ten or twenty years’ time, if we look back at the 2004-2008 period, few will remember the political wrangling, but people will certainly remember the accession to the European Union on January 1, 2008, and the fact that in 2008 Romania was the European country with the highest economic growth rate.

How do you see the political party positions ahead of the electoral campaign? Which do you think will be the core campaign themes?
In the history of any state, there will be times when citizens are faced with fundamental choices for their future. At times like these, there are not several campaign themes, but only one. Today, in 2008, we experience such a moment.
Romanians are faced with a fundamental choice for their future, a choice between the Left and the Right. Between PSD and PNL. No other electoral campaign since 1990, had so much on the line. On November 30, Romanians are to choose between left-wing and right-wing principles.
Between continuing economic gro­wth and sacrificing economic growth for the sake of left-wing mea­su­res.
The essence of democracy is the competition of programmes. I would like to see  PSD come up with pro­posals specific to the modern left wing. Unfortunately, PSD only made unrealistic proposals, indeed bedtime stories. Furthermore, PSD indicated that it was willing to sacrifice the economic growth, in favour of econo­mically ungrounded salary increases. The Romanians should know that, if Romania shifts to the left, we will share the fate of countries like Hungary, where the economic growth prompted by the right-wing was followed by the left wing’s inconsiderate „generosity”. The result? Instability, unemployment, economic crisis.
Romania needs stability, invest­ments, reduced governmental inter­ven­tion in the economy, lower taxes and buraucracy, which is essentially what the National Liberal Party pro­poses.

What are the strengths of PNL in the upcoming electoral campaign?
The main strength is the centre-right programme that PNL has for the next 4 years, so that it may become Europe’s seventh largest economic power. I know you expect me to say that our main strength are the achie­vements of the past four years, so this may come as a surprise: I am not yet satisfied. Romania can do better, and Romanians may live better.
There is still much to be done until the benefits of the economic growth will reach all Romanians. But I know that we can do that, if we carry on the liberal policies that ensured this economic growth.
It will not be easy. Don’t think that countries like Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic are not competing over foreign investors. This is a free-market economy that we live in, and the best and hihest-performing competitor wins. We, the Liberals, already know that, which is why we offer Romanians a centre-right programme, which en­cou­rages entrepreneurship and in which investments in infrastructure, education, healthcare and agriculture are top priorities.
Over the past four years, we ma­naged to develop the Romanian economy because we have made sure that any pension and salary increase is economically sustainableIf we aban­don this course, Romia will return to the instability specific to left-wing go­vern­ments.

Which will be the core element or prerequisite that PNL will impose in the negotiations for the forming of a new government?
Our goal is to win the election, so as to be able to implement all the measures in the PNL right-wing pro­gramme. This means there will be no talking about a political alliance before November 30. On the other hand, any party which is willing to join us in implementing this programme is wel­comed. The message that I and my Liberal colleagues would like to convey is that Romani must go ahead with a right-wing programme, to sustain the economic growth and to offer a better life to Romanians.

What do you fear, as far as PNL is concerned, in the coming two months?
Fear is out of the question. But I can tell you what I wish for the next two months. I wish Romanians get involved in a debate on the projects proposed by the parties. I am aware that some politicians will resort to a traditional practice, that of personal attacks, but I also know that Romanians are wise enough not to be influenced by this practice. I wish all Romanians carefully analyse what the Left and the Right propose, and make a choice for the future of Romania.

By Virginia MIRCEA

Publicat în : English  de la numărul 60
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