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The deep-rooted diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Romania can be traced back centuries ago. On the 13 February 2015 both countries’ embassies celebrated 135 years of successful cooperation between the counterparts. Both of which are very fond of being able to say that successful cooperation is the foundation of strong bilateral agreements. The Dutch, as well as the Romanians, still benefit from the economic agreements the two countries established.
During the period of strong economic, social and cultural collaboration, the theories idealism, liberalism, and realism will be used to describe the past, present and predict the future of collaboration between the Netherlands and Romania.
The diplomatic relations started on the 21 December 1841 when the authorities established the first Dutch representative in Galati, Romania (ROMANIA, Economic and commercial relations, 2010). The main purpose of the settlement was to encourage and start a trade cooperation. Subsequently, 15 years after the first settlement, the Dutch expanded to Bucharest and established an Agency and a General Consulate (ROMANIA, Economic and commercial relations, 2010).
During the unstable era in Romania, the Netherlands recognized on January 1880 the independence of Romania to which led to Diplomatic Agency level (ROMANIA, Economic and commercial relations, 2010). More initiatives were being proceeded and agreements signed during that period. A great development established when the relationship peaked at Embassy level on the 25 August 1966 (ROMANIA, Economic and commercial relations, 2010).
Bilateral relations between the two countries have solely become much stronger over time. Both counterparts value the agreements which are based on solid economic cooperation between Bucharest and The Hague. Albeit, the primary focus lied on economic and trade agreements, it has expanded rapidly including education and culture (nine o’clock, 2017).
Regarding the European Union and its fast growth, Romania and the kingdom of the Netherlands both share the common vision of maintaining part of the European Union and promoting it. Due to the strong friendship built from the long cooperation, both counterparts will do everything they can to develop more bilateral agreements and deepen their diplomatic relationship.
The solid foundation of the economic and commercial cooperation has been written down into several important treaties which both countries value. The following are the most important ones (ROMANIA, Economic and commercial relations, 2010):
Furthermore, the Embassy of Romania in the Kingdom of the Netherlands and newspaper Nineoclock argue that the Netherlands is the current top-ranking contributor to the economic development in Romania. For 6 years now, the Netherlands still maintained its position with more than 4500 registered companies in Romania (Nineoclock, 2017). Most popular sectors are infrastructure, industrial, agricultural, tourism, technology and telecommunication (ROMANIA, Economic and commercial relations, 2010).
The position of the Netherlands can be viewed from a liberalistic aspect. The Netherlands clearly makes its intentions clear and emphasizes the cooperation between the two countries. The main goal of the Dutch has always been generating profit and enhancing trade. Likewise, Romania entails the same interests. Due to foreign investors, the Romanians have a better position in negotiating with potential investors, since it has been demonstrated that the country has a lot to offer.
Impact of the European Union on bilateral agreements Europe was entirely destroyed after the Second World War. European Countries decided to collaborate to prevent another war from happening and for economic reasons. The six founding countries: the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, and West Germany established the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952 (the Netherlands, n.d.). The ECSC community greatly contributed to recovery, economic growth, and prosperity in these countries.
Many more countries joined the process as they discovered the benefits of a strong international organization that provides guidelines and regulations for collaboration. In 1992, the Treaty of Maastricht was signed, and the international organ is now called the European Union. The framework became clearer and more functional. The European Commission granted Romania with the status of ‘’functioning market economy’’ in 2004. Albeit, relatively poor progress was made in meeting the EU economic conditions for the accession to become a member of the European Union (Gallagher, 2009). Due to the lack of proficiency, structure, and skills. The input of the Romanian government was being asked to observe the domestic developments and which will result in whether Romania is suitable to join the EU. Eventually, Romania joined the European Union on January 1, 2007. Still, there are many foreseen problems that Brussels will have to take in since the agreement of partially accepting Romania into the EU.
New treaties have been set up for all the member to obey and in order to provide the member states with the necessary regulations to advance free trade agreements (Guglielmo Maria Caporale, 2009). Bilateral agreements between countries are still in force. However, the European directives, regulations, and decisions will overrule when bilateral agreements are in conflict with the European law.
The impact of an international organization can be looked upon from different perspectives and self-interests. Firstly, Romania a poor, post-communist country with an insufficient economically and politically system thrives for financial funds granted by the European Union. One can argue that, currently, the Romanian government is looking from a realistic point of view. The reason is that the PSD party which is an abbreviation of Partidul Social Democrat is still mainly influenced by ex-communist. On the one hand, the government would like to entirely integrate into the European Union but, refuses to give in sovereignty. The PSD has been causing many problems internally that clearly shows that this government does not want any higher authority above them. This can consider being the left-over of the previous regime in Romania.
Secondly, the European Union has its self-interest to agile methods to enlarge the international community. Their approach would entail both realism and liberalism. In fact, the European Union advocates attaining more power of the member states to be able to be the highest authority to which the member states have to obey. In addition to that, the liberalistic angle would be that the European Union continues to deepen trade regulations to stimulate economic growth in all member states, simplifying legislation and aiming to create a more coherent community.
Finally, the Dutch will maintain looking from a liberalistic standpoint since the main interest of the Dutch is to enhance cooperation, generate profit and making more deals. However, the recent years made the Netherlands change its mind about the European integration progress. According to prime minister Mark Rutte, deepen the European integration and creating a federal Europe will not be the solution to the challenges Europe is facing. He has stated that the European Union must not expand the tasks but on the contrary, bring it more into focus to resolve the issues (De La Baume, 2017). Therefore, the Dutch will always judge a situation from a liberalistic point of view.
The Romanian accession to the Schengen within the European Union has yet today still a divided outcome. Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007. Both countries were eager to join the Schengen as soon as possible. However, two northern countries the Netherlands and Finland blocked the procedure and clearly stated that the two new EU members should not become part of the Schengen area just yet. The important argument Gerd Leers, the Dutch Minister for Immigration, Integration and Asylum Affairs, stated was that Romania and Bulgaria who have external EU border, are not reliable due to corruption and lack of technical border controls and therefore opposed the accession (Euractive, 2011). By permitting Romania to become part of the Schengen, the country would receive a high responsibility towards the rest of the EU.
The European Commission and Romania do not share the Dutch and Finnish view. President Jean-Claude Juncker advocated in the European Commission that Romania and Bulgaria should become immediately a member of the borderless Schengen area (Jakub, 2017). According to the president of the European Commission, a decision needs to be made fast. Romania will take the presidency in 2019 and therefore should be fully integrated into the European Union. The importance of allowing Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen is now more than ever. The main argument used was that the internal borders should be well guarded and safe. The Romanian EU affairs minister Victor Negrescu has said that Romania is meeting all the EU criteria and should be permitted the accession into the Schengen area. He proposed a solution to divide the accession into two stages. first, no border controls in airports and proceeded by removing controls on land and sea (Maurice, 2018).
The well-known Dutch tolerance towards foreign cultures has made a contemporary change. The eyes of the world were set on the Netherlands on March 2015. The Dutch elections were the first of the elections series in Western Europe. The outcome of the Dutch elections was crucial. The results would demonstrate the influence of populism in Western Europe. It resulted that, the widespread populism has also affected the Netherlands and the right-wing parties drastically rose in the polls.
The right-wing party leader Geert Wilders is widely known across the globe. He visited many countries educating them about the danger of Islam in western societies. His critical and conservative view had a great effect on the mindset of the Dutch today. This does not solely include Islamic countries but also Eastern European countries with a communist background. The main argument given by right-wing politician is that due to the lack of transparency, an immense number of corruption delinquencies and contemporary governmental wrongdoing are the reasons Romania should not be accepted by the Schengen area. Moreover, Euroscepticism simultaneously rose with the arrival of populism. The conservatives, right-wing politicians clearly have a realistic perspective on the European Union. The right-wing parties advocate for regaining back their full power, the Dutch government should be the only higher authority and the European Union should be abolished.
On the contrary, the Romanian citizens and politicians are combating corruption in institutions. Since corruption has been the primary focus of the domestic and international audience. The largest protest since the fall of 1989 emerged last year in the capital Bucharest (Euronews, 2017). The Romanian government tried to decriminalize corruption offenses with financial damage less than 200.000 lies approximately 40.000 euro’s (Saeed, 2017). Thus, elites could be off charge for any corruption they have done. Moreover, Romanian National Anti-Corruption Directorate shed light on Liviu Dragnea, leader of the Social Democratic Party. He was accused of committing fraud with EU funds. He sat up a crime group that helped him and misused his position for personal welfare (Saeed, 2017).
In conclusion, Romania is less likely than any other East European country to rapidly implement a new political and economic structure that would fit the EU molt. Romania’s rather young democracy has not yet been fully developed to be able to entirely integrate into the European Union. Changing the political system is not that difficult, but adapting to a new economic system that has to be fully implemented is much harder. Especially for Romania where the one central power controlled all aspects of the society. This results in today’s lack of transparency in politics, skills, and proficiency at institutions. Having said that, there is hope for Romania, the spirit of the Romanian citizens is awakened. All layers of society have the same mindset when it involves the importance of the Romanian existence in Europe. The main goals are anti-corruption, economic growths and becoming a reliable and trustworthy member of the European Union. Our estimation results indicate a positive and significant impact of FTAs on trade flows.
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