Deal on EU’s joint action ‘at different paces and intensity’. President Iohannis: Romania’s opposing the multi-speed Europe successfully capped

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European Union leaders have met in Rome on Saturday to celebrate the EU’s 60th anniversary, namely the founding treaties of the bloc, stating that “Europe is our common future” in a final declaration signed at the Campidoglio palace, the same venue where on March 25, 1957 six founding states signed the Treaty of Rome paving the way for today’s EU.

Meeting without UK, the other 27 member states gave a ten-year horizon for the European project, despite concerns related to the EU’s mounting weakness.

The document sealed in Rome on Saturday sets a new course for the EU, laying out the principle of acting together inside Europe but ‘at different paces and intensity’, with some countries moving ahead on stronger integration while others may not participate on certain issues.

We will act together, at different paces and intensity where necessary, while moving in the same direction,” the declaration states.

We will allow for the necessary room for manoeuvre at the various levels to strengthen Europe’s innovation and growth potential. We want the Union to be big on big issues and small on small ones. We will promote a democratic, effective and transparent decision-making process and better delivery,” the official document further reads.

While France and Germany supported the concept of a multi-speed Europe, other countries, Romania and Poland included, have protested the idea over concern it would leave central and eastern members behind.

A multi-speed Europe doesn’t mean in anyway a disunited Europe,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, as quoted by DW.com. “We are very clear: we want to head in the same direction and there are things that are nonnegotiable,” she said, exemplifying the internal market and western values on freedom of expression, press and religion.

Merkel said that the EU wanted to respond to citizen’s concerns over the economy, immigration and military threats with “a protective Europe.”

We want a secure and protected Europe. We must better protect our external borders and we want an economically stronger Europe,” she said.

As thousands of leftist and nationalist anti-EU protesters rallied in Rome, leaders also highlighted that Brussels needs to address citizens’ economic concerns.

Europe as a political entity will either be united, or will not be at all … The unity of Europe is not a bureaucratic model. It is a set of common values and democratic standards,” European Council President Donald Tusk said.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis attending the EU’s anniversary meeting stated in a press conference in Rome that Romania’s opposing the multi-speed Europe concept had successfully finished off, as the syntagm had been cut off including from the European leaders’ speech. Regarding to the Rome Declaration’s excerpt “at different paces and intensity”, the Romanian president explained it referred to the member states’ right not to join certain EU’s projects or to do it later than other countries.

There will be projects where not everybody would want to join from the first. For instance, not everybody has joined Eurozone, but it doesn’t mean Europe is not working with two monetary speeds,” Klaus Iohannis explained.

He said that the text of the Declaration of Rome is “positive” and “balanced,” in compliance with Romania’s position regarding the future of Europe.

The concerns expressed by Romania were taken into account within the negotiations regarding a strengthened cooperation. Moreover, an additional reference to cohesion in respect to a prosper and sustainable Europe was also included,” Iohannis added.

The President warned that if a multi-speed Europe idea had been followed, the EU bloc would have retrogressed, and the Eastern European countries would have stood to lose.

If we’d accepted the two-speed Europe, the second speed would have been in the East, sooner or later. Then we would have got back to the Eastern people’s deep concerns: that they would have been left behind. I brought many arguments and there were many arguments in support of my report and we finally succeeded in finding better terms (….),” Iohannis added.

The Government also hailed the adoption of the Declaration of Rome. “Romania’s Government hails the adoption, on this day, in Rome, of the Declaration which renews the commitment of the 27 member states regarding the European unity and cohesion goal, the fundamental values and freedoms which are the basis of the community construction,” a release of the Gov’t reveals.

Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu stated that the Declaration is possible only because member states remained united and found common solutions to mutual issues.

This is why, the Union remains the framework in which Romania, alongside other member states and community institutions, will act in order to defend our mutual interests and priorities. We will contribute, as a member state, as well as a county which will hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2019, to further integrate and deepen the cooperation between member states, to maintain peace, democracy, stability and security in Europe,” PM Grindeanu pointed out.

Romania remains fully committed to work to enforce the directions of action convened by the Agenda of Rome, in terms of consolidating the Union. Ten years after the accession, Romania has the capacity and resources to bring a substantial contribution in this process,” the release concludes.

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