President Klaus Iohannis on Friday welcomed at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace in Bucharest the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, as Romania has taken over the rotating Presidency at the Council of the EU. The Romanian head of state has also met the delegation of the European commissioners (photo).
Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday voiced his confidence that there are high chances Romania holds a successful first Presidency of the EU Council, yet underlining that domestic conflicts must not be exported to Europe.
“I am confident the Romanian Presidency will be able to have a very significant contribution to prove that all those who pretend that there are two blocs in Europe, those from the west and those from the east, that there is an internal fragmentation, to show them they are wrong, that Europe breaths with two lungs and that Europe, during the Romanian Presidency and afterwards, can act orderly, in an organised manner. It would be better that the atmosphere and spirit of consensus allowing Europe to progress exist in your country, as well. We must not export internal conflicts to Europe and we cannot engage in a pointless conflict, because it will lead to many internal and external issues. Romania wants to be useful for Europe and that is why it must internally establish the preliminary requirements allowing it to have a successful presidency. Therefore, I believe that the first Romanian Presidency has all the chances to be a great presidency,” Juncker told a joint press conference with President Klaus Iohannis at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
The EC President though admitted Romania is taking the Presidency at the Council of the European Union at a “difficult” time for Europe, due to such issues as Brexit or the multi-annual financial framework.
“I am thinking of the agreement in principle on the multi-annual financial framework, an extremely difficult subject that the Romanian Presidency will have to deal with, because we cannot afford interrupting the process already launched. Otherwise too many programs could be affected,” Juncker said, adding that the Romanian Presidency will also have to deal with the stability of the Union post-Brexit. The EC President announced that the EU is ready to clarify the provisions of the agreements negotiated by British PM Theresa May, but it will not renegotiate it.
“I have full trust in the Romanian authorities, in you, Mr. President, that you will know how to manage that difficult, if not tragic, stage, because it’s about the departure of the United Kingdom, which for me is a sad event, that Europe did not need, but democracy is what it is – we cannot prevent those who want to do it. (…) It will be in fact, a break with Europe and it will be a syncope in the history of our continent, which we could have spared. Thus, the Romanian Presidency must ensure stability and offer hope,” he stated.
In his turn, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis has told the joint conference that the rule of law is not something to be negotiated. According to Iohannis, discussions on justice laws and criminal codes in Romania are very complicated and they have already been going on for two years, voicing hope that all those involved would prove to be wise enough to take this discussions to a good end, in compliance with the expectations of Romanians, with the Venice Commission and GRECO’s recommendations. The head of state emphasized that Romania cannot design a justice system that is not compliant with the other justice systems in the EU.
Klaus Iohannis admitted that discussions on these topics do not lead to a good image abroad and that the domestic policy issues must not affect Romania’s mandate at the helm of the EU Council.
At the same time, during the meeting with the College of Commissioners, president Iohannis said that Romania holding the Presidency at the Council of the European Union represents a good opportunity to transpose our country’s commitment to the European project. He underlined that Romania will take efforts to advance the European agenda based on consensus, as a honest mediator among all participants, as its goal is to maintain unity and cohesion among member states.
Juncker-Dancila meeting: I want to end my mandate at EC with Romania in Schengen and with no CVM
President of the EC Jean Claude Juncker has also met Romanian PM Viorica Dancila on Friday, stating that he would like there will be no Cooperation and Verification Mechanism against Romanai by the end of his term as EC head and that our country will join Schengen by then as well.
“We, the Commissioners, are treated like princes here, in Bucharest, everything is perfectly organised, which is a good sign for the continuation of the events. (…) If I could voice a wish, it would be that during the mandate of this Commission, Romania should join the Schengen Area. I see no reasons for which certain governments obstinately refuse this. We are keeping in touch with the most refractory and we are trying to convince them to say ‘yes’ for Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area. (…) I would like to end my mandate making of Romania a member of the Schengen Area and putting an end to the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism,” EC President said at the end of some talks with PM Viorica Dancila.
He reminded that in 2014 he had vowed before the European Parliament to put an end to the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, stating that he stays faithful to this promise, “on condition that all efforts be made in Romania and in Europe for things to be carried out in good circumstances.”