Mission Report

Report on the Mission to Poland and Romania

The Council of American Ambassadors sponsored a mission to Poland and Romania from October 4-15, 2004. The delegation, which included ten former United States (US) Ambassadors and 14 spouses and guests, visited Warsaw, Krakow and Bucharest. The purpose was to investigate the political and economic situation in both countries and their relations with the European Union (EU) and the US, particularly as allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and in the international coalition against terrorism.

Besides briefings with US Ambassadors Victor Ashe (Warsaw) and Jack Dyer Crouch II (Bucharest) and Consul General Kenneth Fairfax (Krakow) and the Embassy and Consulate country teams, the delegation met with host country government officials and nongovernmental and business leaders at the highest level. Our interlocutors in Poland included: Miroslaw Zielinski, Deputy Minister of Economy, Labor and Social Policy; His Excellency Dr. Adam Rotfeld, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Ambassador Henryk Szlajfer, Director, MFA Americas Department; Ambassador Janusz Reiter, Director of the Center for International Relations; Professor Janusz Danecki, Head of Oriental Studies at Warsaw University; and, Mr. John Lynch, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Poland.

In Romania, the delegation had a private meeting with His Excellency Ion Iliescu, President of Romania, at the presidential palace and also visited with the following Cabinet members and officials: His Excellency Mihai Tanasescu, Minister of Public Finance; His Excellency Alexandru Farcas, Minister of European Integration; His Excellency Vasile Radu, Delegate Minister for Commerce; His Excellency Mugur Isarescu, Governor of the Central Bank; His Excellency Sorin Ducaru, Romanian Ambassador to the United States; His Excellency Traian Basescu, Mayor of Bucharest and the presidential candidate of the opposition coalition; His Excellency Marko Bela, President of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania; Professor Cornel Codita, Dean of the School of International Relations; and, Professor Daniel Daianu, former Minister of Finance.

Although we visited each city for a relatively short period of time (approximately three working days per locale), delegation members came away from their experience with several lasting impressions.

First, Poland and Romania have emerged from Communist and authoritarian rule to firmly embrace democracy and capitalism. Over the last decade, both countries have held free elections--Romanians most recently went to the polls on November 28, 2004, to elect a new President; Poles will follow suit in 2005--and pursued economic reform, including liberalization and privatization.

To solidify their Western orientation, Poland and Romania have embraced key Western institutions. Poland, a NATO member since 1999, has participated in operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan; Romania, which formally joined the Alliance in May, already has hosted the 28 NATO Defense Ministers for an October 2004 meeting in Brasov.

With respect to the European Union, Poland realized a dream of more than ten years when it joined the EU in May 2004. Romania is working hard to close the remaining EU negotiating chapters, including those dealing with competition and justice and home affairs, to become a member by 2007.

While strengthening ties with their European neighbors, Poland and Romania enjoy warm and friendly relations with the United States (the two pursuits are not mutually exclusive). In an atmosphere of rising anti-Americanism and a deteriorating US image overseas, Poland and Romania are markedly pro-American. They are members of the global coalition against terrorism. They have boots on the ground in Iraq and seem prepared to stay the course--at least through 2005--although their publics are increasingly wary of their troops’ continued presence in the wake of the rising cost of engagement, both in terms of lives and budget resources.

Like any relationship, there are issues for the parties involved to address. For example, Poland and Romania wish to see an increased US presence in key sectors of their countries, particularly the economic arena. The US, for its part, encourages both nations to enhance economic reform by continuing efforts to combat corruption, reduce bureaucracy, improve public finances, strengthen the development of an independent judiciary and promote greater transparency. 

An irritant in both countries’ relations with the US concerns the new US visa requirements instituted in the aftermath of the September 11 events. Poles and Romanians, who are liable for the same $100 application fee and interview as many others around the world, cannot comprehend why they are excluded from the US’s visa waiver program. They cite the case of France whose citizens qualify for the visa waiver although the French government declined to join the US, Poland, Romania and others in the Iraq coalition.

In the pages that follow, we hope to elaborate on the topics noted above and offer several recommendations for policy consideration.

Poland

The Council delegation’s first stop was Poland where events of the World War II period still resonate. Monuments to the uprisings by Jews in the Warsaw ghetto and by the Polish underground, the reconstructed buildings of Warsaw and the memorials at Auschwitz (visited by the delegation), Treblinka and Majdanek and other death camps where three million Jews (approximately 90 percent of Polish Jewry) were killed stand as permanent reminders of the country’s tragic past.

Sadly, the end of WWII did not bring an end to tyranny in Poland. The country was to suffer for another 44 years--this time as a satellite of the Soviet Union.

However, while the Soviets may have dominated Poland, they were not able to capture the hearts and minds of the Polish people. For example, Communism was never properly established in Poland. The leading political party was known as the Polish United Workers’ Party, not the Polish Communist Party, and the Polish private sector--which today accounts for over two-thirds of Poland’s gross domestic product (GDP)--continued to exist despite the command economy. Further, the Catholic churches throughout Poland remained open and Mass was well attended--a symbol of defiance in the face of the godless Communist regime that ended in 1989.

The current Polish government is led by a minority coalition of the left-of-center Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the social democratic party Union of Labor (UP) and headed by Prime Minister Marek Belka. Former SLD leader, Aleksander Kwasniewski was re-elected President in October 2000; his term ends in 2005. President Kwasniewski has supported Polish membership in NATO and the EU--institutions that represent for Poland the fundamental platform for transatlantic cooperation and the catalyst for modernization respectively.

Poland and NATO

Poland became a full NATO member in March 1999, fulfilling a key national security aim. It promoted its NATO candidacy through energetic participation in the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program, the forerunner to NATO membership. The country continues to be a regional leader in support of the PfP program and has actively engaged most of its neighbors and other regional actors to build stable foundations for future European security arrangements.

In this vein, Poland, a beneficiary of the Alliance’s enlargement policy, believes that NATO’s door should remain open. It supports the integration of Croatia and other South and Eastern Europe states into NATO, promotes Ukraine’s efforts to join the Alliance and endorses the deepening of NATO’s cooperation with Russia.

Poland has participated in NATO operations in Kosovo--where it provided and actually deployed the Kosovo Force (KFOR) strategic reserve--and Afghanistan and received support from NATO headquarters for its activities in Iraq where it assumed command of a multinational division of stabilization forces on September 3, 2003.

Poland and the European Union

Poland also has forged ahead on its economic integration with the West, realizing its goal of EU membership in May 2004. Poland’s membership in the EU has far-reaching consequences for the country--both politically and economically.

On the political side, EU membership affords Poland new opportunities to influence the shaping of European-Atlantic relations. Poland’s friendly and close relationship with the United States represents a key asset that Poland brings to the EU. This asset was brought to bear recently when the Iraq crisis exposed serious divergences between the US and some key EU states, notably France and Germany. Given its ties to both the US and the EU, Poland is able to play the role of "bridge" to help to heal the rift.

This deft diplomacy demonstrates Poland’s interest in making a constructive contribution to meet the challenges facing the transatlantic community today. Poland does not want to choose between the US and Europe; it wants to promote harmony of action between them, based on common interests and values. While some may try to pressure Poland to make a certain choice, Poland sees no contradiction between its European commitments and its close relations with the United States.

At the same time, Poland wants the Union to be a strong, efficient and effective institution. Consequently, Poland believes that the EU needs decision-making procedures that encourage compromise instead of forcing decisions. The historic obsessions that still dominate Polish thinking preclude Polish acceptance of France and Germany, the current EU heavyweights, as the co-leaders of Europe. Poland is interested in a more pan-European approach to political questions and supports the continued enhancement of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy as a means to that end.

As for the Polish economy, EU membership is viewed as the principal means to further Poland’s structural transformation. With 39 million people, Poland accounts for half of the population and nearly half of the economic output of the ten newest EU members. It has a highly motivated workforce and relatively low labor costs compared to other Central and Eastern European countries. Additionally, Poland is benefiting from EU financing and aid aimed at infrastructure development and agricultural reforms.

Even after only a few months, the benefits of Poland’s accession to the EU have surpassed expectation. According to the Deputy Minister of Commerce, Polish GDP growth is projected to be between six and seven percent in 2004--higher than forecast. The country currently has a positive trade balance with Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom. As Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka noted recently, "The Polish public had underestimated the benefits to be reaped by Polish farmers and food industry and transport companies from the opening of EU agricultural markets and borders."

Indeed, Polish companies that do a lot of cross border trade and those involved in transport were among the first to experience the advantages of EU membership. Paperwork that used to take two to three weeks to process at the Polish Customs Office is no longer necessary. Transport documents now can be completed electronically at the manufacturing plant or factory, thereby eliminating wait time at the border crossing point.

Poland’s Economic Challenges

Despite these positive economic developments, challenges remain. In the wake of EU accession, prices have risen. Unemployment is running at 19 percent. The government continues to play a strong role in the economy, as seen in excessive bureaucracy. Privatization is proceeding at a slower pace than originally planned. Investors complain that state regulation is not transparent or predictable; the economy suffers from a lack of competition in many sectors, notably telecommunications. Enforcement of intellectual property rights protection needs to be strengthened.

The experience of John Lynch, an American expatriate who lives in Krakow, is illustrative. Several years ago, Mr. Lynch saw a need in the local marketplace for a company that could market T-shirts to tourists. He created an original design (a sketch of Krakow’s famous Wawel Castle) and contracted with a local Krakow printing company to produce the design on T-shirts. He then provided the finished product to hotels and tourist shops in Krakow; his entire production run of 1,000 shirts sold out in two weeks.

When he asked his clients to place additional orders, Mr. Lynch was surprised to learn that they already had a supply. The printing company that filled the initial order went ahead and produced more shirts--using Mr. Lynch’s original design without his permission and without attribution--and marketed them for a slightly lower price to the same hotels and tourist shops.

Following this encounter with lax enforcement of intellectual property rights protection, Mr. Lynch decided to build his own factory to produce his products. Unfortunately, he ran into another difficulty; he had to wait 18 months for Polish authorities to process the building permit that he needed for construction. 

The Polish government has been addressing these deficiencies because it understands that a favorable business climate will attract more investment. In particular, a key priority is to increase dramatically US investment and the US business presence in Poland, which in turn will bring much needed technology and know-how to the Polish marketplace. According to the American Embassy in Warsaw, the US currently ranks third on the list of top foreign investors in Poland and represents two percent of Poland’s foreign trade. Clearly, there is room for growth, and both the Polish and US governments are encouraging closer economic and commercial links.

Bilateral Issues on the US-Poland Agenda

Besides the economic area, Poland would like to see enhanced US-Polish cooperation in several other sectors, notably in military/defense industries and scientific and educational exchange.

While the US-Polish military relationship is described as robust, Poland is very interested in enhancing its participation in defense-related contracting, particularly with respect to Iraq reconstruction. To this end, the US sent advisors to Poland to provide training and technical assistance to help potential Polish bidders to prepare their Iraq reconstruction project proposals. As a result, Poland hopes that it will win more bids.

In the area of science and scientific exchange, Poland would like to expand cooperation with the US by developing more scholarship programs, establishing branches of American think tanks in Poland and creating joint Polish-American regional centers to support reform in Eastern Europe. Absent new US-Polish initiatives, traditional links with the US in the Polish scientific community may be less attractive than the possibilities afforded by Polish membership in the EU.

Similarly, in education, more Poles would like to study and/or do research in the United States. However, the freedom of movement afforded by EU membership provides a new incentive for Polish students and researchers to choose European universities or research institutes over American ones. This development coupled with the US visa requirements is starting to have an impact on the number of Poles studying or doing research in the United States.

The visa issue was one that was raised repeatedly throughout our visit. In Krakow, for example, where the Council delegation participated in a roundtable discussion with Polish undergraduate and graduate students, members heard strident criticisms of the "shameful" program. Citing the close ties and long history of cooperation with the US from Generals Kosciuszko and Pulaski in the Revolutionary War to the current operation in Iraq, Poles do not understand why they are excluded from the visa waiver program when the French, who are not in the Iraq coalition, are eligible. The application fee--which according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs costs Poles $10 million annually--and the toll telephone line for US visa information are regarded as further insults.

US officials respond that today’s global environment where terrorist and other threats are very real necessitates the visa requirements. Moreover, if the visa application fees were eliminated, foreign citizens might be encouraged to apply every day or every week, further clogging a heavily burdened system. The US Consulate in Krakow, for example, already processes 60,000 visas annually.

Prime Minister Marek Belka raised the visa issue with President Bush (as did other Polish government officials at all levels during their meetings over the last year with their US counterparts) when the two met in Washington in August 2004. As a result of their discussions, a pre-screening process at the Warsaw Airport was put in place on September 8, 2004, to verify the validity of travel documentation to ensure that no Pole will be turned back at a US entry point.

The Poles view this development as an interim measure at best and still press for the complete elimination of the current requirements in favor of Polish participation in the visa waiver program.

All in all, the delegation wrapped up its visit to Poland with the feeling that the US-Polish relationship is stronger than ever and with the confidence that the issues on the bilateral agenda can be resolved.

Romania

The delegation’s next stop was Romania where we visited the capital city, Bucharest. Like Poland, Romania’s recent past is tragic: world war followed by the coming to power of the Communists and their allies. The form of Communism that was established in Romania most closely resembled that of the Soviet Union. In contrast with many other European Communist countries, while the Party was all-powerful, satellite parties--socialist, Christian Democrat, agrarian, etc.--continued to exist. In Romania, however, as in the Soviet Union, the single-party system operated in all its purity.

The Communist period in Romania culminated in the authoritarian rule of Nicolae Ceausescu. He and his wife, Elena, who became the number two in the Romanian Communist Party, created a cult of personality that stifled individual freedom and expression. Under Ceausescu, churches were demolished; Romanian towns were flattened to make way for apartment towers (known as "tower blocks," which still can be seen in Bucharest and other places) where families were forced to live in small flats instead of single-family dwellings. Censorship, although nominally abolished by the regime, became harsher. Freedom of movement (especially travel abroad) became more and more restricted. Abortion, which had been legal, was abruptly outlawed without any alternative program being offered (contraception was almost unknown), leading to many social crises, including children born with abnormalities because of the improvised methods used in an attempt to abort them.1 

The capriciousness of the dictator’s rule is embodied in the colossal Palace of the People (now known as the Palace of the Parliament), the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon. Ceausescu built this monstrosity--displacing many people, buildings and businesses--with 3,600 architects and the labor of 20,000 Romanians working in three shifts 24 hours per day. It stands as an ominous symbol of its builder’s megalomania and the resources he squandered on it--funds that might have been used to develop Romania’s infrastructure, including a much needed road system. (To this day, no one seems to have any idea how much it cost to build--and the Palace was only 50 percent complete at the time of Ceausescu’s fall--or how much it costs to maintain on a yearly basis).

By 1989, the pent-up frustrations of the Romanian people erupted in violent revolt. People took to the streets; tanks appeared in Bucharest; the National Library was burned; people died. The Ceausescus tried to flee the capital by helicopter, but they were intercepted and captured. After a reportedly hasty military trial, Ceausescu and his wife were executed on December 25, 1989. Out of all of the Eastern European countries that cast off Communist domination, Romania’s was the bloodiest.

Since that turbulent time, Romanians have worked hard to emerge from those dark days. They have held free elections, and the Council delegation’s October visit coincided with the latest Romanian presidential campaign that would conclude in a national vote (first round) on November 28, 2004. Having served two terms, the current Romanian President, Ion Iliescu of the socialist-left Social Democracy Party (PSD), is not eligible to run again per the country’s Constitution. The current Prime Minister, Adrian Nastase, is the PSD’s candidate for President. 

At the time of our visit, Mr. Nastase held a slim lead over his main opponent, Traian Basescu, the current Mayor of Bucharest and candidate of the opposition coalition known as Justice and Truth.* Mr. Basescu had entered the campaign only recently, owing to the resignation for health reasons of the previous opposition coalition candidate, Teodor Stolojan.

Reelected the Mayor of Bucharest in June 2004, Mr. Basescu presides over a city of 2.5 million inhabitants that is responsible for 52 percent of Romania’s GDP.2 As Mayor, he has sought to improve the city’s infrastructure and appearance by replacing underground pipes to improve public heating and water services, resurfacing roads, cracking down on Bucharest’s infamous stray dogs and outlawing roadside kiosks.

Mr. Basescu also has tried to deal with the economic aftereffects of rural migration--individuals who quit Romania’s countryside to come to Bucharest in search of employment--by announcing that he will suspend social protection for anyone, including Roma3 (also known as "gypsies," although Romani people consider the term a pejorative), who will not work. This policy is in line with the Mayor’s belief that all Romanians must leave behind forever the old Communist mentality that promotes dependence on the state in favor of work and self-reliance.

Romania’s Accession to the European Union

The Mayor’s emphasis on action is reflective of the country’s commitment to make the changes necessary to become a member of the EU. These requirements fall into 31 broad areas known as negotiating "chapters." Of the 31 chapters for EU accession, Romania has closed 29 as of October 2004. It was expected that the remaining ones would be closed by the end of 2004 to pave the way for the signing of the accession treaty in the spring of 2005 and formal entry into the Union on January 1, 2007.**

While all of the requirements for EU membership are important, several received particular attention during the delegation’s visit and thus merit a further word.

First, in the social realm, the EU requires that its member countries respect minorities. Two of Romania’s key minority groups are the Roma, who represent approximately ten percent of Romania’s 22 million inhabitants (the largest concentration of Roma in the world), and the ethnic Hungarians, who comprise 1.5 million of the population. Prime Minister Adrian Nastase’s government has introduced protections for the Roma--prejudice against the Roma still exists--and launched studies to integrate Roma children into Romanian schools. It also entered into an alliance with the political party of the ethnic Hungarians, the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), to give it a majority in Romania’s Parliament. As a result of the agreement, UDMR attained several of its goals, including greater use of the Hungarian language in cities and counties where Hungarians are the majority or comprise sizeable minorities, and increased use of Hungarian in schools. The UDMR continues to work for more autonomy in education, including a state university whose courses are offered in the Hungarian language.

Another important requirement for EU membership is freedom of the press. Romania’s 1991 Constitution provides for this and other rights. Like all democracies, implementation is a challenge. Some concerns noted by the delegation include: government subsidy and managerial control of public television; alleged influence peddling of the press by some of Romania’s political parties, and, physical attacks and/or threats against journalists. Cognizant of these difficulties, Romania is endeavoring to resolve them.

With respect to the economic sphere, Romania successfully achieved a key milestone when the EU issued its progress report on October 6, 2004, designating Romania as a "functioning market economy," a prerequisite for entry. This pronouncement represents the EU’s stamp of approval on the reform efforts undertaken thus far. According to the Ministry of European Integration, despite a sputtering start in the early 1990s, Romania’s economy grew a total of 30 percent over the last four years; an average annual growth rate of 5.5 percent is expected over the next four.

Romania’s Key Economic Reforms

In preparing for EU entry, Romania understands that the next two years will be crucial. It must not ease up on its reform program, particularly ongoing efforts to crack down on corruption, promote greater transparency and strengthen the judicial system. In this regard, the Romanian government has established a National Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office and initiated the development of a Business Ethics Program in cooperation with the US Department of Commerce, launched an e-procurement initiative to do all procurement via the Internet--thereby opening the process to public scrutiny--and set up new commercial courts for dispute resolution. 

Privatization of state-owned industries is another important reform. The Romanian Central Bank reported that in 2003, a total of 309 privatization contracts amounting to 300 million dollars were concluded (51 for large companies and 258 for small and medium-sized ones). Also, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corporation reached an agreement with the Romanian government to acquire a 25 percent share in the country’s largest state-owned bank, Banca Commerciala Romana (BCR), with an eye towards preparing the bank for sale to a strategic investor by 2006. In 2004, Romania’s energy sector experienced three key privatizations: Petrom, the national oil and gas company and two electricity distribution companies.

Romania also has been strengthening its macroeconomic stability. Since 2000, Romania has had steady GDP growth (5.3 percent in 2001; five percent in 2002, 4.9 percent in 2003, as reported by the Romanian Central Bank). Information Technology (IT) and Communications was the most dynamic sector in 2004--Romania has the third highest number of IT specialists in the world after India and Russia--with an annual growth rate of about 13 percent. The unemployment rate stood at 6.2 percent. Inflation, which had been a serious problem in the early 1990s (retail price inflation averaged 12.1 percent monthly in 1993--the equivalent of 256 percent annually, per the US Department of State), is decreasing; it was 17.8 percent in 2002 and 14.1 percent in 2003. It is hoped that the inflation rate will be below ten percent for 2004.

Curbing inflation is important, especially since Romania aspires to join the European Monetary Union (EMU) or Euro zone. As a first step towards this goal, Romania’s Central Bank in the summer of 2005 will re-denominate the currency, the leu, by lopping off four zeros, so that 10,000 old lei will equal one new leu. Fiscal restraint and deficit reduction also are necessary for EMU participation. It was felt that Romania will need more time to be in a position to meet EMU membership criteria and probably will not be ready to join the Euro zone before 2012.

Underpinning Romania’s reform efforts is EU assistance in the form of pre-accession funds, which, per the Ministry of EU Integration, will surpass 1.5 billion euro over the next three years. These funds will be used for Romanian infrastructure and rural development projects, to name two. In fact, the largest portion of these funds will be allocated to rural development for agriculture reform--a key sector given that 27 percent of Romania’s population relies on agriculture to survive. In short, Romania hopes to follow the example of Spain, which used EU investments wisely and thus was able to transition relatively quickly from a less developed country to a more developed one.

These investments and reforms not only help to prepare Romania for EU membership but also help to strengthen the business climate in the country. Moroever, Romania’s skilled labor force and low labor costs relative to other Central and Eastern European countries are additional incentives to attract foreign business. The Ministry of Public Finances reported that foreign direct investment (FDI) in Romania reached US$ 10.8 billion at the end of 2003. The first quarter of 2004 saw a 60 percent increase in FDI compared to the same period in 2003.

The US and Romania

Romania is especially interested in attracting more US business to the country. The US Embassy in Bucharest reports that the US is currently the fourth largest investor in Romania, after The Netherlands, France and Germany. At a Bucharest luncheon meeting, the Council delegation heard upbeat reports about the country from members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Romania. Reiterating that the requirements for EU accession have had a beneficial effect on ameliorating Romania’s investment climate and upgrading business practices, they encouraged the Council delegation to spread the word among the US business community that Romania is a good place to invest and do business. Sectors ripe for investment include: energy, transport and telecommunications.

In addition to enhanced commercial ties with the US, Romania also seeks to expand cultural, scientific and academic exchanges, such as Fulbright. These programs are mutually beneficial and provide opportunities for people-to-people activities. Like Poland, however, the US visa requirements can influence the number of Romanians who are able to study in the US.

Romania also wants to further US-Romania military relations. There already exists a substantive working relationship between the US and Romanian defense ministries. Romania has joined the US and others in the international fight against terrorism and the coalition in Iraq. Also, given President Bush’s August 2004 announcement that the US is undertaking a review of its troop deployment in Europe, Romania is keen to strike a deal to host American troops at its base at Constanta, whose strategic location on the Black Sea and at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, makes it attractive. Senior Pentagon officials toured the base in October 2004 but no decisions have yet been made.

Romania, NATO and the SEECP

Romania’s full membership in NATO, which came to fruition on March 29, 2004, allows for continued and enhanced cooperation with the US and other NATO allies in the security arena. Like Poland, Romania supports a solid transatlantic partnership through NATO built on strong values and traditions.

As the eastern-most NATO member, Romania brings an important perspective to the Alliance. Its proximity to Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus and others in the neighborhood and its participation in the South-Eastern Europe Cooperation Process (SEECP) means that Romania can make important contributions to the stability and the well being of these pivotal regions.

Conclusion

Overall, the Council delegation felt that the mission to Poland and Romania was extremely worthwhile and timely. In fact, members remarked that the opportunity to see first-hand the changes and initiatives underway in the two countries was extremely useful. They appreciated the first-rate briefings and outstanding support provided by the American Embassies in Warsaw and Bucharest, the Consulate in Krakow and the Polish and Romanian Embassies in Washington and felt that the visit provided them with a clearer sense of the current situation, the key issues and the future direction.

Thus, in light of our investigations, the Council delegation wishes to offer several recommendations:

 

  1. Encourage the US business community to take a closer look at Poland and Romania. Skilled and motivated workforces, relatively low labor costs compared to other European countries, and an enhanced business climate in line with EU requirements make these countries attractive for greater US investment and business.
     
  2. Increase funds for US-Poland and US-Romania educational and scientific exchanges. At a time when America’s image overseas has suffered, these programs represent effective public diplomacy; they expose foreign students, researchers, etc. to American culture and values.
     
  3. Review the US visa policy to ensure that qualified individuals who wish to study or do research in the US are not denied entry and that no country, which meets the visa waiver program criteria, is excluded from participation.

End Notes

1Lucian Boia in his book, Romania, writes, "More than anything else, the [abortion] policy created a state of permanent irritation in family life, in the day-to-day relations between men and women, and it was an immense insult to people, and especially to women, who were treated as breeding animals...[The policy] was one of the Romanians' great frustrations and concentrated part of violence unleashed in December 1989."

2The delegation noted the presence of many casinos in Bucharest and wondered how much of the income generated from the industry went to the capital city. The Mayor explained that all income from the casino industry goes directly to the federal government.

3Professor David M. Crowe of Elon College in his article, "The Roma of Eastern Europe Since 1989: Communities in Crisis," writes that "the Roman have lived in Eastern Europe, particularly the Balkans, since the Middle Ages. Originally a warrior class in India, they were driven out as victims of war by the invading Muslims...During the early centuries of their existence in Eastern Europe, the Roma were highly prized as craftsmen. Few armies could function in the region without their arms manufacturing or equine skills...Traditionally, they would move from village to village where they provided Balkan peasants and noblemen with essential metalworking and horse handling. In the 15th and 16th centuries, forced Romani nomadism became institutionalized in laws throughout the region that severely restricted Romani movement and settlement patterns. A complex body of prejudices became integral to obstructing Romani settlement and movement throughout Eastern Europe, and these biases continue to plague the Roma to this day."
 

 

Editor's Notes

*Editor's Note: The Washington Post reported on December 14, 2004, that Mr. Basescu won Romania's presential runoff election held on December 12, 2004. Results showed Mr. Basescu won 51.2 percent of the vote compared to Mr. Nastase's 48.8 percent.

**Editor's Note: On December 8 2004, Romania closed the remaining EU negotiating chapters.

 

Annex

COUNCIL OF AMERICAN AMBASSADORS POLAND AND ROMANIA MISSION DELEGATION

Hon. Julia Chang Bloch and Mr. Stuart Bloch
Ambassador to Nepal, 1989-1993

Hon. Keith L. Brown and Mrs. Carol Brown
Mission Co-Chair
Ambassador to Denmark, 1989-1992
Ambassador to Lesotho, 1982-1983


Mrs. Magalen O. Bryant
Former Chair, The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Mrs. Shelby Cullom Davis (Kathryn)
Wife of the late United States Ambassador to Switzerland, 1969-1975

Ms. Claudine J. Fle (Poland)
International Program Associate, Council of American Ambassadors

Hon. Bruce S. Gelb and Mrs. Lueza Gelb
Ambassador to Belgium, 1991-1993
Director, United States Information Agency, 1989-1991


Mrs. Cynthia George
Guest

Mrs. Alan Green, Jr.
Wife of the late United States Ambassador to Romania, 1989-1992

Ms. Carolyn M. Gretzinger
Executive Director, Council of American Ambassadors

Hon. Glen A. Holden and Mrs. Gloria Holden
Ambassador to Jamaica, 1989-1993

Hon. Lester B. Korn and Mrs. Carolbeth Korn
Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, 1987-1988

Hon. James C. Rosapepe (Poland) and Ms. Sheilah Kast (Romania)
Ambassador to Romania, 1998-2001

Mrs. Diana Davis Spencer
Chair of Grants, The Shelby Cullom Davis Foundation

Hon. Robert D. Stuart, Jr. and Mrs. Lillan Stuart
Mission Co-Chair; Ambassador to Norway, 1984-1989

Hon. Timothy L. Towell
Ambassador to Paraguay, 1988-1991

Hon. William J. vanden Heuvel (Romania)
Mission Co-Chair
Ambassador to the United Nations European Office (Geneva), 1977-1979
Ambassador to the United Nations (New York), 1979-1981


Hon. Leon J. Weil and Mrs. Mabel Weil
Ambassador to Nepal, 1984-1987

Accompanying the delegation in Poland:
Mr. Jacek Jarkowski, State Department Interpreter

Accompanying the delegation in Romania:
Ms. Nadia Crisan, First Secretary, Embassy of Romania

 

Mission Date(s)

Oct 4, 2004 - Oct 15, 2004

Delegation Members

  • Julia Chang Bloch
    Ambassador to Nepal, 1989 - 1993
  • Stuart Bloch
  • Carol Brown
  • Magalen O. Bryant
  • Kathryn W. Davis
  • Claudine J. Fle
    International Program Associate, Council of American Ambassadors
  • Lueza Gelb
  • Bruce S. Gelb
    Ambassador to Belgium, 1991 - 1993
    Ambassador to United States Information Agency, 1989 - 1991
  • Cynthia George
  • Joan Green
  • Carolyn M. Gretzinger
    Executive Director, Council of American Ambassadors
  • Glen A. Holden
    Ambassador to Jamaica, 1989 - 1993
  • Gloria Holden
  • Sheliah Kast
  • Lester B. Korn
    Ambassador to United Nations (UN), 1987 - 1988
    Ambassador to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) , 1987 - 1988
    Ambassador to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) , 1983 - 1984
  • Carolbeth Korn
  • Jim Rosapepe
    Ambassador to Romania, 1998 - 2001
  • Diana Davis Spencer
  • Lillan Stuart
  • Timothy L. Towell
    Ambassador to Paraguay, 1988 - 1991
  • William J. vanden Heuvel
    Ambassador to United Nations (UN), 1979 - 1981
    Ambassador to United Nations European Office (Geneva), 1977 - 1979
  • Leon J. Weil
    United States Ambassador to Nepal, 1984-1987
  • Mabel Weil