Date: 31 July 2019
Romania Among Countries Competing for the Portfolio of EU Energy Commissioner
The government in Bucharest is seeking to put forward Romanian candidate Luminița Odobescu, who is currently Romania’s Ambassador to the European Union, for the position of European Commissioner for Energy. Five politicians from Central and Eastern Europe, including one from Poland, Minister Krzysztof Szczerski, the current Chief of the Cabinet of the President of Poland, are among contenders for the job. The Romanian candidature is represented by a woman, which, according to unofficial announcements, might be a positive factor, assuming, of course, that the European Commission will strive to maintain a gender balance when filling posts. Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă stated that the position of EU Commissioner for Transport may also be taken into consideration by the Romanian administration as an alternative for the position of EU Commissioner for Energy.
The countries of Central and Eastern Europe do not have their own representatives in the leading positions in the EU. Filling important positions in the European Commission with candidates from Central and Eastern Europe is to be a kind of compensation for the overrepresentation of Western Europe in the top positions in the European Parliament, the European Council and the European Commission. Therefore, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia and Poland are among the Central and Eastern European countries which have put forward their candidates for the important position of EU Commissioner for Energy. Both the energy security of Central and Eastern Europe, in particular in the context of gas supplies from Russia, and the building of the Energy Community, for example, by including non-EU countries in the European energy network, are of key importance for the security of the entire region. By lobbying for the European integration of Moldova, Romania supports projects that make the country independent of gas supplies from Russia, for example, through the construction of a gas interconnector from the Romanian city of Iași to the Moldovan town of Ungheni.
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Each EU country has the right to have a European Commissioner, however, not all of the positions have the same meaning for individual countries. Romania is strategically located on important routes of road and energy infrastructure. As far as road investments are concerned, Romania counts on the speeding up of construction works of the Via Carpathia route, a trans-European highway running across its territory and linking Thessaloniki in Greece with the Baltic port of Klaipėda in Lithuania. The current route on this section runs through Serbia, bypassing Romania, by which the country’s economy has been heavily affected. By having an EU Commissioner in one of the two key sectors of the economy, be it energy or transport, Romania could have a positive impact on the development of the region, where the country is already becoming an important partner in trans-European initiatives.
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