President Iohannis: Eastern Europe Deserves Relevant EU Roles

"My country is probably one of the best examples of the EU's transformative power", the Romanian President told EP.

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While in Strasbourg today, to deliver a speech in the European Parliament, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said that “it would be inadmissible” for no high-level position within the EU to be occupied by a person “from the new member states, i.e. from the eastern part”.

Iohannis was rumored as a potential candidate for the headship of the future European Council.

“In my opinion, it would be inadmissible for any position not to be occupied by a person from the new member states, i.e. from the Eastern part. I think that in 2019 it was wrong. All the relevant positions were occupied by very competent people, that is not the discussion, from the old Europe, and it is one of the reasons why many Europeans consider themselves a little left out. It is an error and I hope that, this time, this error will not occur again.It would be good for the Union to understand that the choice of this leadership must also be done taking into account the regional criteria,” said the Romanian head of state.
In his opinion, “these issues should never be neglected because they would deepen some faults that we prefer to be closed”.
President Klaus Iohannis spoke on Wednesday in the plenary session of the European Parliament, gathered in session in Strasbourg, during the “This is Europe” debate, upon the invitation of the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola.
The Romanian head of state spoke about supporting Ukraine, about the need for the expansion of the European Union, but also about the assumption of the role of “global leader” by the European Union.
“My country is probably one of the best examples of the transforming power of the European Union. The EU means a space of safety, prosperity and diversity. The removal of air and sea border controls as of March must be followed by the removal of land border controls,” Iohannis pointed out.
However, he underlined that we are witnessing a crisis of values and public trust in our institutions.
“Our unit has been put to the test many times. We, as a Union, are taking unprecedented steps to strengthen our internal resilience. We must stand by Ukraine and its people. The defense of sovereignty and international rules cannot tire. Euroscepticism is on the rise. His followers pose problems that are sometimes right, but their solutions are wrong. How can we remain attractive as a Union? The answer is clear: EU enlargement. This Parliament has strongly supported this objective”.
In his view, the EU must also take a global leadership role to preserve the European values, as the challenges we face are global.This is why we need to step up our global expansion Africa, Asia-Pacific. We need to simplify the decision-making mechanisms. Qualified majority voting on certain matters can be introduced without amending the Treaties. We are stronger now than 5 years ago. It is our shared responsibility to do what is best for our citizens. Future generations are watching over us. 5 years ago we adopted the declaration from Sibiu. The 10 commitments made then remain valid. I remain loyal to these values and principles.”

EP President: Romania will become stronger after joining the euro zone and the Schengen area

The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, thanked Romania for the support given to Ukraine, which is the “first responsibility” of the EU. She told a joint press conference with President Klaus Iohannis, that Romania will become stronger after joining the euro zone and the Schengen area.

“Ukraine is our first responsibility, our first priority. Europe is stronger thanks to our united efforts and here Romania plays a crucial role on the eastern flank”, said Metsola, at the press conference with President Klaus Iohannis, before his speech in the European Parliament. Europe will be even stronger when Romania joins the Eurozone and takes its well-deserved place in the Schengen Area. It is clear to us, March 31 will be a significant date for all Europeans. The 17 years in which Romania was a member of the European Union were transformative for Romania and for Europe, it brought opportunities for all,” said Metsola.

“In just 4 months, the time will come again for Romanians and other European citizens to set a renewed direction for Europe. On June 9, over 19 million Romanians will vote for 33 MEPs. Who these people will be, what they will represent – that is in the hands of the Romanians. They will shape the policies, they will pass the legislation that will change Europe. Romanians will choose to vote. My message is not to understand that Europe is something given, to let others decide for you”, the President of the European Parliament also stated.

Metsola added that it is important for the legitimacy of the EU that everyone feels represented in the top positions in the community block and that the geographical balance is respected.

“We cannot ignore people’s fears, because otherwise we will increase polarization. It’s easier to draw up a narrative in black and white, but I’m sure that if you challenge that narrative by showing why decisions are made we can counter it. The challenge is not only populism, but also the silent majority. Until the election day, we will try to convince them that the vote counts“, Metsola said.

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