04BRUSSELS2496 / 2004-06-10 12:56:00
Embassy Brussels
                C O N F I D E N T I A L BRUSSELS 002496 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/10/2014 
TAGS: PREL, CASC, CVIS, RO, EUN, USEU BRUSSELS 
SUBJECT: VERHEUGEN RESPONSE TO DEPUTY SECRETARY ON ROMANIAN 
ADOPTIONS 
 
 
Classified By: Rick Holtzapple, PolOff, Reason 1.4 B/D 
 
 1. (U) The cabinet of Enlargement Commissioner Gunter 
Verheugen has faxed us a letter from the Commissioner to 
Deputy Secretary Armitage, replying to the Deputy Secretary's 
letter of May 4 on the issue of Romanian adoptions.  The full 
text of the letter is in para 3 below, and a copy of the 
original fax with signature has been faxed to EUR/ERA and 
Embassy Bucharest. 
 
2. (C) The letter confirms what we already know from the copy 
of the report from the Commission to the GoR on the issue 
that was provided to Embassy Bucharest.  The Commission's 
legal experts have told the Romanian government that the 
"proposed approach to pursue on the policy of intercountry 
adoptions with a very limited exception" is seen as 
"essentially in line" with the EU's demands. 
 
3. (U) Beginning of Text: 
 
Dear Mr. Secretary of State, 
 
Thank you for your letter of 4 May 2004 on the issue of 
intercountry adoptions from Romania. 
 
I would like to clarify that the European Commission is not 
against intercountry adoption as such.  However, the UN 
Convention on the Rights of the Child foresees that 
inter-country adoption may be considered only if the child 
cannot be placed in a foster or an adoptive family or cannot 
in any suitable manner be cared for in the child's country of 
origin.  This "last resort" provision is consonant with the 
provision in the UN convention that refers to the 
"desirability of continuity in a child's upbringing and to 
the child's ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic 
background." 
 
All Member States of the EU have ratified the UN Convention 
on the Rights of the Child and therefore should respect the 
above mentioned principles.  Therefore the Commission 
considers that the moratorium on intercountry adoptions is 
necessary as long as no legislation is in force that fully 
complies with this convention, and as long as no 
administrative capacity exists to implement this legislation. 
 
Following Prime Minister Nastase's request for legal advice 
on children's rights and adoption, the Commission set up an 
Independent Panel of EU Member State experts on family law. 
In its latest report, which I have forwarded to Prime 
Minister Nastase, the Panel noted the fundamental change made 
by Romania on the issue of intercountry adoption.  The 
proposed approach to pursue on the policy of intercountry 
adoptions with a very limited exception was considered 
essentially in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of 
the Child. 
 
Our primordial focus must be on getting the system of child 
care in Romania right so that we get tot he usual situation 
in the Member States of the EU where international adoptions 
are the exception.  Therefore, the EU has supported Romania 
in its efforts to improve the quality of public care for 
children.  This meant that large residential establishments 
were closed down and replaced with a selection of child 
protection alternatives ranging from smaller homes and foster 
care to day-care centres.  Of course there remains work to be 
done, but Romania surely has come a long way in resolving the 
issue of children in public care. 
 
I have been informed that recently a videoconference on this 
issue was held between the Washington State Department and my 
services, and that it was considered useful to have both 
sides express their respective positions. 
 
Yours sincerely, 
 
     /S/ 
Gunter Verheugen 

            
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