European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has delivered a speech in Parliament on Thursday, on the occasion of celebrating ten years since Romania has joined the European Union, praising our country for the courage, the ambition and the attachment to democratic values and rule of law. “Romania has taught us a beautiful lesson of ambition regarding the future. We have to love Europe. I will continue to do so,” Juncker said.
The EC President added that, by receiving Romania, the EU has become more powerful at international level and has laid stress on the younger generation in Europe. It’s not by chance that we have handed to Commissioner Corina Cretu the issues of European solidarity. Mrs Cretu is doing a great job in Brussels. (…) I want to congratulate you for the courage of the Romanian people and for its leaders, who had the European compass in hand, he said.
Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU has never had second hand countries or countries to be left behind. He added that Romania has earned a well deserved place in the Schengen area and should become a member as soon as possible.
The EC President said the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) is well done and no new criteria and requirements need to be introduced in addition to those already in place, saying Romania deserves “its natural place within the European Union and in the Schengen area. The criteria to join the Schengen area were clear and, I say it once again, we should not make it more difficult. Romania must be able to become member of the Schengen area as soon as possible, because it is a well deserved position,” Jean-Claude Juncker said.
According to the EC President, Romania has made significant efforts over the past 10 years in the reform of the judiciary and in the fight against corruption, stressing that the termination of the CVM should not mean the end of reforms or the abandonment of reforms.
The end of the CVM means even more cooperation, because cooperation is essential, because European solidarity is a bond of commitment between our states and our peoples and, after the end of this mechanism, cooperation will continue. This is the top priority. You can count on the support of the Commission through the Structural Funds in particular. I will militate on the Romanian authorities to guarantee the irreversible character of the progress made, the EC President pointed out.
At the same time, he specified that the two ‘essential’ issues for the Romanian society are observing the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers.
The European Commission President is paying a one-day visit to Bucharest. In the morning he had talks with Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu, followed by the speech delivered in parliament.
Jean-Claude Juncker is to have talks with President Klaus Iohannis and will attend a reception at Cotroceni Palace on the occasion of Europe’s Day.
In the afternoon EC President Juncker will meet PM Sorin Grindeanu and will have, along with Commissioner Corina Cretu, dialogue with the citizens.
The special session of the Romanian Parliament was also attended by several former state and government officials, including former PMs Adrian Nastase and Victor Ciorbea.
At the entrance to the plenary hall, Jean Claude Juncker embraced the former Prime Ministers Victor Ciorbea and Adrian Năstase, welcomed Victor Ponta, and kissed former President Traian Băsescu on his forehead and then embraced him.