Written Answers. - Romanian Economic Situation.

Peter Barry

Ceist:

81 Mr. Barry asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the possibility of rioting and starvation in Romania in the next few months; whether this has been discussed recently at European Political Co-operation meetings; and if it is proposed to take any action in the matter.

I am aware of reports of the serious economic situation facing Romania, including shortages of food and other basic products. I understand that the Romanian Government is taking various measures aimed at reforming the economy.

I am also aware that there have been recent demonstrations in various cities in Romania. In most cases, demonstrators have been opposed to the Government's policies, though some pro-Government demonstrations have taken place.

The situation in Romania is kept under review as appropriate in European Political Co-operation and in the Council framework. It has also been considered within the group of 24 (G24), which co-ordinates assistance to countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

A high-level meeting of the G24 on 31 October decided that the reform process in Romania was not sufficiently advanced to warrant the extension of economic assistance by the members of that group. Urgent humanitarian aid is, however, being supplied by the Community and some G24 partners.

Nevertheless, the Community recognises that a degree of progress in introducing reforms has been made since the summer. In recognition of this, the Community recently signed a trade and co-operation agreement with Romania. Once put into effect, this should be of considerable assistance to the Romanian economy.