01.10, 0900 – Corina Crețu (Regional Policy)

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Political Flair 5 / 10
Credibility 6 / 10
Energy 6 / 10
Warmth 5 / 10
Ability to connect with people outside Brussels 5 / 10
Likelihood of being approved by the EP 7.5 / 10
Overall rating 5.5 / 10

Corina Crețu is a former spokesperson of Romanian president Ion Iliescu and she has been an MEP since 2007. However, in her opening statement she did not mention her experience in the European Parliament which is surprising given her general lack of experience when it comes to regional policy. She also seemed a bit nervous reading out a statement that did not work as a speech – a surprise, given her long career in politics. Maybe this is indeed one of the key lessons for many politician in Brussels: Speechwriting and drafting policy documents are two different things. If you only use headlines from the DG REGIO website for your speech you end up with some sort of ‘regional policy bullshit bingo’:

Regulatory framework – check;  conditionality, more jobs and growth, synergies, community action – check; programming period, not business as usual, beneficiaries, concrete results, together we are stronger – check;  good governance, institutional capacity, sound financial management, evaluation – check; zero tolerance to fraud, constructive dialogue, transparency, mutual trust – check.

There was absolutely no vision in her opening statement. No new ideas, nothing.  We don’t know what she is planning in the coming years or what her priorities will be. She had nothing to say, and used many words to say it. There were a lot of general and vague statements without a clear structure (despite her insistence of using numbers to structure her speech) At some point it even felt that she contradicted herself by saying that ‘regional policy is a tool of solidarity’ but not ‘charity from rich to poor’.

Let’s hope that one of the MEPs will ask how her “zero tolerance to fraud” will work in practice and how she intends to make life simpler for SMEs that find regional policy instruments “too bureaucratic”. During the first round of questions a few misunderstandings happened and she struggled to make a point in the allocated time – the next two hours could become quite difficult for Corina Crețu…

Photo: CC License from Flickr – original source here.

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