69217 6/23/2006 15:30 06BUCHAREST1035 Embassy Bucharest CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN VZCZCXRO8908 PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR DE RUEHBM #1035/01 1741530 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 231530Z JUN 06 FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4706 INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0152 C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BUCHAREST 001035
STATE FOR EUR/NCE - WSILKWORTH; CA/OCS - CLAMORA
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/22/2016 TAGS: PREL, ECON, ENRG, EPET, PGOV, PHUM, CASC, RO SUBJECT: ROMANIA: AMBASSADOR AND PM DISCUSS ENERGY, ECONOMY AND ADOPTIONS
Classified By: Ambassador Nicholas F. Taubman for reasons 1.5(b) and (d ).
1. (C) The Ambassador met with Romanian Prime Minister Calin-Popescu Tariceanu on June 22 to discuss the state of our bilateral economic relationship and the future of international adoptions. Tariceanu reiterated a request made by letter the previous day for U.S. assistance in strategic planning on energy security. According to the PM, Romania is not comfortable relying solely on energy imports from Russia, and would welcome U.S. assistance in convincing central and western European nations of the importance of "Southern Corridor" pipeline projects drawing on new sources in the Caspian Basin. Tariceanu also expressed optimism that the GOR would soon resolve issues with Daewoo Korea, hastening a potential investment by an American automaker. The PM is happy to see the Transylvania Motorway back on track, and offered to join the Ambassador on a site visit in the near future to illustrate his support. On international adoptions, Tariceanu reiterated the argument that Romania will not re-visit its ban on inter-country adoptions (ICA), that the European Commission supports this position, and that international adoptions are not consistent with the Romanian or European philosophy of child welfare. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) Underscoring a point from his letter of the previous day, PM Tariceanu requested U.S. assistance in developing Romania's long-term strategy towards energy security. Tariceanu pointed out his long-standing concern that Romania diversify its energy sources, mentioning a project begun in 1997 under his tenure as Minister of Economy and Commerce linking Romania's gas network to Hungary's (NB. the project has yet to be realized). The GOR intends to increase its focus on other domestic energy sources, including bringing on-line two new reactors at its Cernavoda nuclear plant and encouraging renewable energy and biofuel through investment incentives. The GOR is also considering another large-scale hydro plant on the Danube. Tariceanu suggested US expertise would not only provide a broader global vision to the GOR's planning, but would also help ensure that Romania does not "follow a path it will regret in ten years."
3. (C) The PM acknowledged that reliance on Russia as its only gas supplier is a weak point in Romania's energy posture. The country is eager to shed this legacy of the Cold War trading structure and pursue projects such as the Nabucco gas pipeline or the Pan-European Oil Pipeline. However, central and western European nations must be convinced of the need to diversify sources, and of the importance of the Caspian Basin as an alternative. Tariceanu pointed to Germany's close relationship with Russia, observing that the country feels it has secured its long-term energy needs in a reliable way. "I believe Germany is wrong," he said. The PM suggested the U.S. could play a role in promoting "Southern Corridor" projects with European partners. Without European buy-in, Romania's domestic energy partners, including Austria's OMV, will be reluctant to participate. Tariceanu also worried about Turkey's attempts to dominate new projects under development. Turkey is trying to assume the Russian role of "master at the switch," he said.
MOTORCARS AND MOTORWAYS
4. (C) Tariceanu informed the Ambassador that he had spoken with Minister of Economy and Commerce Seres regarding negotiations with the Koreans on the Craiova auto plant immediately before their meeting. According to the PM, the Korean side has agreed to the request that all creditors' claims be acknowledged in the final agreement. However, the timeline for concluding discussions has not been decided on, and Tariceanu fears the Koreans may be dragging their feet. The PM re-emphasized his intent that an American investor take over Craiova, acknowledged the need for expediency, and pledged to do all he could to ensure a swift conclusion to the negotiations.
5. (C) On the Transylvania Motorway, Tariceanu took a generally more positive approach than in previous meetings, inviting the Ambassador to visit a Bechtel worksite the week of June 26. Although the PM revisited the history of the dispute, he acknowledged at the Ambassador's prompting that contractual problems are in the past. He said he recognized the importance of the infrastructure project and the need to
BUCHAREST 00001035 002 OF 003
meet the GOR's contractual commitments, including prompt payment.
6. (U) The Ambassador then raised the request in the PM's letter for continued cooperation with the U.S. on child welfare issues. He told Tariceanu that the USG sees this subject in the context of our goal for Romania to be the strongest democracy in the region, a member of the EU, with values that set an example for its neighbors. He was concerned, he explained, that new reports about the inhumane conditions in which some orphans and abandoned children find themselves will damage Romania's reputation.
7. (C) The Ambassador shared with the PM a document reporting on the appalling conditions in one maternity hospital outside Bucharest. The Ambassador emphasized this was an internal document, but that information from many other sources indicated the conditions reported there were not an anomaly. He emphasized that the USG does believe inter-country adoption (ICA) should be part of the solution to these problems, and that the GOR should consider amending its ban on ICA.
8. (U) Tariceanu responded that he was "very much disappointed" by what the Ambassador had said. While "the facts may be real, you cannot generalize" about the situation of Romania's abandoned children from one report. He asked for details on the institution where the report came from so he could investigate whether the institution's administration was doing its job properly.
9. (U) The PM complained that "all this campaign about institutionalized and abandoned children is only about one issue: re-starting inter-country adoption." The European Commission supported the GOR's ban, he emphasized, as being consistent with what was expected from a future European Union member. Brussels, he insisted, opposed any change in the law. Romania was considered a model in the region for its legal framework on adoptions. He did not want to "create any expectations" around a possible amendment of the law. No other EU state allows ICA, he said. Tariceanu noted that he had discussed the matter with President Traian Basescu and they shared the same view.
10. (U) On the subject of the pending cases, the PM said he had asked the Romanian Office for Adoptions to issue a report, as it had, on its case-by-case evaluation of each petition. None fulfilled the criteria for adoption under the current law.
11. (U) Tariceanu stated that the High Level Group for Romanian Children would conduct an investigation of child welfare institutions, and the USG or U.S. NGOs were welcome to participate. (Note: Tariceanu co-chairs the Group with European Parliament Member Baroness Emma Nicholson. End note). The GOR's statistics indicated that Romania had no problem dealing with the numbers of children abandoned in institutions. Most were reintegrated into their natural families. According to the PM, the figure of nine thousand children abandoned annually, published by UNICEF in 2005, was "completely false."
12. (SBU) Glancing through his copy of the report the Ambassador had handed him about one Romanian institution, the PM dismissed the idea that visitors were being asked not to pick up children from their cribs lest they cry uncontrollably. "My son would also have cried after being put down," he said. Consul General clarified that the point of that report was that the children's reaction to being held indicated they were being denied human contact. The PM doubted that possibility, but said it was a matter for the experts. Tariceanu said he would ask the ROA to work closely with us in discussing the issue.
13. (U) Consul General explained that the two reference documents to which the ROA often points, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Hague Convention on International Adoption, both cite ICA as a legitimate tool, to be preferred over long-term temporary measures in a child's home country, such as foster care or institutionalization. The Ambassador closed the discussion by repeating that the USG believes there is an important place for ICA in addressing the needs of orphans and abandoned children, and that the pending cases are a piece of the issue.
BUCHAREST 00001035 003 OF 003
14. (C) Tariceanu is trying to put our economic relationship on a more sturdy footing and in so doing to raise his profile as a valued U.S. partner. His offer to visit the Bechtel site with the Ambassador is a welcome change in his approach toward the project. He may be influenced in part by a desire to improve his political standing as he faces increasing criticism from President Basescu and the opposition about his government's performance. We know from Tariceanu's staff that the PM is interested in visiting the U.S. but has been told by the Romanian ambassador in Washington as well as by us that the lack of movement on the adoptions issue is a major complication. The PM was manifestly disappointed that his effort in the previous day's letter to find a way to bridge our differences on the adoption issue had fallen flat. In fact, Tariceanu showed no real signs of budging, and our approach will have to factor in his adamant opposition to changing Romania's hard-line stance against international adoptions. End Comment. TAUBMAN