The President of France Nicolas Sarkozy is to arrive to Cotroceni Palace in Bucharest, Romania, in the afternoon and after his meeting with the President of Romania Traian Basescy the two officials are to sign a common declaration to apply a strategic partnership between Romania and France.
Later this afternoon the French President is going to meet with the Romanian PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu and then deliver a speech in the Romanian Parliament. During his visit to Bucharest Nicolas Sarkozy isn't going to sign any commercial agreement with Romania, given previous accusation concerning the corruption in Romania, according to a French Presidency source.
The strategic partnership, the first of the kind in Central and Eastern Europe, consists in 5 sections: political dialogue, economic relations (France is Romania's third trade partner, after Germany and Italy), cultural and scientific cooperation (France was the first country to welcome Romanian students), free circulation of people, defense and security. Nicolas Sarkozy is in the habit of announcing important contracts during his recent official visits abroad, no trading agreement will be signed with Romania. French Presidency source comments: "In the past there was much criticism of Romania because of the degree of corruption. It is better for us not to associate this visit, mainly aimed at a strategic partnership, to any commerce agreement." The strategic partnership is a 5-year relationship and it can go on to successive 5-year terms, according to the Romanian Presidency.
"Romania is a very important country to the EU: it is the seventh EU state, given the number of inhabitants, deputies in the Parliament of Europe and the votes in the Council of Europe. Romania comes after Poland, but before the Netherlands", the French Presidency emphasizes. Rumor goes that the French President isn't being accompanies by any ministers, a visit for thorough meetings with the Romanian President and PM, because the state of things in Romanian politics is complicated. Romania's highest officials are right now cohabitating, which implies talks to both of them so that cooperation would progress."
Sarkozy's 1-day visit to Bucharest is part of a tour he is making in the European capital cities before France gets presidency over the EU, which is due in the second term of 2008. The French community in Romania has invited the French President to a cocktail in the Marriott Hotel, meant to honor his visit. (...)