Romania president seeks support for EU pact

Romanian President Traian Basescu on Monday urged the country's ruling coalition and opposition leaders to conclude a protocol in support of a proposed European Union fiscal pact.

"I have called on political parties to conclude a protocol ... to make sure there is a parliamentary majority in favour of signing the fiscal treaty," Basescu told reporters after meeting with leaders of the ruling coalition.

"In the absence of such a deal, Romania cannot sign the treaty on March 1," when the European Council is scheduled to meet, he added.

Last month, 25 of 27 European Union leaders backed a fiscal treaty that forces countries to enshrine in their national laws a "golden rule" to balance budgets or face automatic sanctions.

The Romanian opposition Social Liberal Union (USL) said recently that it did not oppose the pact.

But its leaders boycotted Monday's meeting with Basescu, arguing that Romania, confronted with severe weather conditions, had other priorities.

Foreign Minister Cristian Diaconescu countered that Romania's European partners would find it hard to understand the opposition's refusal to support the treaty.

"European chancelleries are not interested in political configurations and internal bickering but in the parties' ability to commit themselves to an objective" set by the EU, Diaconescu said.

Romania plans to join the eurozone in 2015 and has pledged to cut its public deficit to 1.9 percent in 2012, from 4.4 percent last year.

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