Romania Poised "Between EU Hammer and Human Rights Anvil"

Politics | February 4, 2004, Wednesday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
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The European Commission has put Romania on the verge of EU accession talks suspension and aid funds severance after warning the Balkan country applicant to halt the export of children for adoption, The Daily Telegraph wrote on Wednesday.

In an unprecedented letter, signed by EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen, Romania saw an imminent threat not only to cut off aid, but also to "recover funds" already spent, unless Bucharest can account for its actions.

The British Daily commented that the dispute raged following Italian reports that Romania had sent 105 children to Italy on dubious pretexts. The European Commission has for long reproached Adrian Nastase's government for turning a blind eye to racketeering by adoption agencies and corrupt officials.

More than 30,000 children were shipped out for adoption over 10 years, generating hundreds of millions of pounds for agencies and middlemen. Each child fetched GBP 20,000 to GBP 35,000, according to data presented by Lady Nicholson, EP's rapporteur on Romania.

She claimed that little had changed since the moratorium on adoption was imposed in Romania, referring to "a well-oiled machine" of adoption agencies and corrupt officials.

Outraged EU MPs are demanding that Romania's request to join the EU be put on ice. A draft resolution by the European Parliament calls for "root-and-branch reform of the justice system" before renewing accession talks.

Romania's Prime Minister Adrian Nastase denied the allegations as "pipeline cases" dating far back prior to the moratorium. Other officials said they were caught in a tug-of-war between two camps. While one part of the EU demands an adoption ban, Italy, Spain, and France want laxer rules to meet their collapsing fertility rates.

After the latest regular reports on accession progress of applicant countries were published in November 2003, Bulgaria voiced concerns over being "packed up" with Romania, although the former failed to complete all political and economic criteria, including human rights observance and functioning market economy.
You can read FULL TEXT of the acrticle at For the Record section

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