Iohannis: Romania can hold the EU Council Presidency despite internal disputes

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Romania can hold the Presidency of the EU Council despite internal disputes, President Klaus Iohannis has told an interview for the Austria media.

Iohannis also said that the current ruling majority wants to weaken the anti-corruption actions, yet voicing hope the disputes will not have a negative impact over Romania’s mandate at the helm of the EU Council. Klaus Iohannis also reiterated he would run for a new term as President.

Asked what are Bucharest’s priorities when taking over the Presidency of the EU Council, the Romanian President said: „The EU Council Presidency is facing many challenges and difficult dossiers: Brexit, the multi-annual financial framework, migration, the debate on the EU’s future. A common vision over preserving the European values must be a priority for all the member states”.

In his view, the priority should be on unity, cooperation and solidarity among member states. „People are waiting for clear answers to problems. Romania wants to provide clear answers. A central project will be the informal summit of the European Council scheduled on May 9, 2019 in Sibiu. I hope the summit will provide a clear and positive perspective over the European Union and that it will raise awareness among the European citizens”, the head of state pointed out.

Questioned if there is the possibility of him being designated Donald Tusk’s successor as president of the European Council, Klaus Iohannis replied: „I would like to remind that I have already publicly announced in June this year that I will run for a new term as Romania’s President”.

Also asked by the Austrian reporter how he will manage to avoid the disputes with the Social-Democrat government while Romania is holding the Presidency of the EU Council, considering he is a political foe of the ruling Social Democrat Party, the head of state underlined he is an opponent of anyone who is jeopardizing the actions to counter corruption and rule of law in Romania, regardless they are members of the Government or not.

„It is true that the current majority at rule, which endorses the PSD Government, wants to weaken the anti-corruption actions and those targeting the independence of the justice. I support the anti- corruption fight”, he said.

As for his recent criticism that the current PSD-ALDE Cabinet is not prepared to take over the EU Council Presidency, Iohannis explained: „It’s obvious it would be desirable that the Government is better prepared, so that this opportunity should be used in Romania’s favour.”

“Even under these difficult internal political circumstances, we can hold a reasonable mandate at the helm of the EU Presidency. Aside from the totally opposite ideas between me and the Government on judiciary and rule of law, I hope the internal disputes will not have a negative impact over holding the EU Presidency”, Iohannis concluded.

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