President Klaus Iohannis at the European Council in Brussels

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The relationship with Russia, the trade policy and the issue of migration – these will be the main topics of discussion at the European Council as of Thursday. President Klaus Iohannis said Wednesday evening that Romania further supports the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, on some conditions. Moreover, the President drew attention to the relationship with Russia. “The principles agreed by the European Union must be observed,” Iohannis said.

He showed that one of the topics is related to commercial policy, mentioning that the talks will focus on the stage of the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, and the revision of the trade defence instruments of the Union.

“In respect to the EU agreement with the US, Romania has been since the beginning a supporter of this agreement, we haven’t changed the position and we believe that this agreement can become very important for both sides, generate advantages both for producers and for consumers on both sides,” the head of state pointed out.

President Iohannis said that he will support the consolidation of some efficient trade defence instruments.

“These instruments come to secure a loyal competition on the Union’s internal market and come to provide protection against non-loyal practices, for instance against dumping. Romania supports the objective of maintaining and developing a competitive European industry as a base for economic growth and for new job creation in Europe, therefore in Romania, too,” Iohannis concluded.

The European Council meets in Brussels on October 20-21, 2016 to discuss about the European Union – Russia relationship, about migration and the EU trade policy.

EU leaders meet to discuss migration, trade and Russia, including its role in Syria.  They will focus on cooperation with African countries of source and transit for migrants. They will hear a presentation by the EU High Representative and the Commission President about the state of play of so-called ‘migration compacts’ between the EU and African states. They will also discuss trade, including the future of CETA, the EU-Canada trade agreement. “We have a special responsibility regarding the agreement with Canada. There is still work to be done, but I hope we will find a way forward,” said European Council President Donald Tusk in his invitation letter.

The topic of EU-Russia relations is discussed in the Council, given that on October 8, 2016 Russia blocked a resolution filed by France and Spain to the United Nations Security Council, which provided the cessation of Russia’s hostilities in Syria. In response, on October 10, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced that he would ask the International Criminal Court to investigate possible war crimes committed by Russia in Syria.

Regarding migration, the European Council will discuss the latest developments and progress on its comprehensive approach and set out the necessary orientations. The debate will focus on: protecting the external borders, tackling migratory flows along the Central Mediterranean route, maintaining and tightening control of the Eastern Mediterranean route.

Leaders will also exchange views on trade issues, consilium.europa.eu reports. They will look at the key files and focus on the future of the EU’s trade policy. In particular, they will reiterate the EU’s commitment to a trade policy benefitting from open markets and heeding citizens’ concerns; discuss the modernisation of Trade Defence Instruments, which aim to tackle unfair trade practices; assess the state of play of on-going free trade agreement negotiations with key partners.

The European Council on October 20-21, 2016 was preceded, on October 19, by the Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment.

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