In the winter issue of the Romanian Journal of European Affairs, the contributors bring forward topics related to: the Romanian economy and its version of capitalism; the capital market supervision and investor protection in Romania; the democratic accountability in global governance – the European rhetoric and performance in international security; the effectiveness of the decentralization of the Ombudsman Institution in Romania; and a book review on The Crisis of the European Union. A Response.
Guest Article: Which Way Goes Romanian Capitalism? – Making a Case for Reforms, Inclusive Institutions and a Better Functioning European Union
Daniel Dăianu, Bogdan Murgescu
This paper examines the Romanian economy and its version of capitalism from a long-term perspective and in a broad context. It focuses on economic prospects in the face of a legacy of backwardness and the endurance of domestic weaknesses, in the context of the Great Recession and the eurozone crisis. Romania has a pressing need to mobilise its internal resources and absorb EU funds on a much greater scale so that it can enhance economic growth and mitigate external shocks. To this end, Romania needs to undertake thorough reforms in the public sector, combat rent-seeking and waste, foster domestic savings. The functioning of institutions and of taxation should convey a sense of fairness to citizens. Romania needs to rethink its growth model. Romania must improve its education system by increasing the level of resources assigned to education and creating coherent policies to strengthen institutional capacities and to improve quality standards. The Romanian economy would benefit significantly from EU policies that are more responsive to the economic and social fractures revealed by the current crisis. Not least, financial markets have to be tamed in Europe and elsewhere if they are to serve economies.
Keywords: capitalism, Romania, eurozone, transition, economic growth, crisis
Capital Market Supervision and Investor Protection: Romania in the European Context
The core aim of this article is to give an overview of the domestic public supervision of securities markets in Romania and in the European Union in order to understand the role of Romania in the European context, taking investor protection as a study case. To this aim, the first part of the article offers an account of the institutional arrangements for financial supervision in Romania, and it gives an overview of the state of the art of retail investor protection in this important South-East European country. The goal is to discover how the Romanian capital market supervisor is designed, and whether the existing public enforcement instruments offer appropriate responses to solve the problems encountered by retail investors. Then, the second part of the article provides a description of the new EU overseeing agency for financial markets, the way it works and how it deals with the protection of retail investors. The goal here is to see how the Romanian securities regulator fits within the European design. The results seem to suggest that the Romanian regulator is not likely to have a strong voice at European level and the current public setting for investor protection is yet to spread its wings.
Keywords: ESMA, ASF, investor protection, public supervision
Democratic Accountability in Global Governance: the European Rhetoric and Performance in International Security
In a context of intense transnationalism, acute interdependence and pertinent global trends, the conventional patterns of democracy are increasingly questioned by new standards and additional levels. This paper transgresses the ontological locus of democracy and aims to analyze the exercise of democratic accountability at global level, focusing on the EU practice in the spectrum of international security. The analysis begins with the conceptual framework of accountability, and seeks to clarify the meanings and mechanisms of democratic accountability within the architecture of global governance. The second part of the paper analyzes how the principle of democratic accountability is integrated in the planning and implementation of EU’s international security policies. The paper analyzes the forms of external accountability, peer and reputational, in the case of EU international counterterrorism policies. Finally, the paper assesses how the language of democratic accountability is used within the sphere of international security. Is the European rhetoric a mere recitation of the good governance norm, or a realistic investment towards an accountable exercise of power at global level?
Keywords: European Union, democratic accountability, global governance, standards, power, counterterrorism
Decentralization of the Ombudsman Institution in Romania: How Effective Is It?
Laura A. Hossu, Dacian C. Dragoş
The effectiveness of Ombudsman’s activity has been the subject of various evaluations from reports of international organizations to books and articles written by practitioners and academia. All these emphasized the difficulty of designing an assessment fit-all model. Bearing this in mind, the aim of this article is to offer a critical evaluation of the effectiveness of Ombudsman’s local offices on two components: accessibility, which relates to individuals, and cooperation, which concerns public administration authorities.
Keywords: Ombudsman local offices, local public administration, effectiveness assessment
Book Review: The Crisis of the European Union. A Response
Alina Bârgăoanu, Loredana Radu
In his book, Jurgen Habermas explored the options available for the European Union in dealing with the global crisis. The author structured his approach on two essays. The first one, entitled “The Crisis of the European Union in Light of a Constitutionalization of International Law – An Essay on the Constitution for Europe”, emphasizes the fact that while the European decision-makers have focused on solving the currency, banking and debt crises, they omitted the political dimension of the crisis. Moreover, the author considers that in the light of a constitutional treaty for Europe, the transnationalization of the European democracy will be possible if both the public opinion and the politicians can overcome three categories of preconceptions: the dependence of the popular sovereignty to the state sovereignty, the mutually exclusive status of the European citizenship and of the national one, the indivisible nature of the sovereignty. The second essay, entitled “The Concept of Human Dignity and the Realistic Utopia of Human Rights” underlines the imperative nature of the human rights and human dignity interconnected concepts. He states that two conditions must be met in order for the concepts to be valid. Habermas considers that there must be a political community that enacts them and that the two concepts are universally accepted. The Appendix includes three recent political interventions through which Habermas reiterates the uncomfortable and controversial topic of European unification. He concludes that the European Project cannot be allowed to fail because of the raise of German nationalism and the lack of visionary European leadership.
Keywords: crisis, EU, constitution, international law, human rights, dignity