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February 4, 2023

Klaus Iohannis proposes British PM David Cameron to consider freedom of movement separately from social benefits

President Klaus Iohannis met British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday, on the sides of the EU-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States). The Romanian head of state used the opportunity to point out that the exit of the United Kingdom would weaken both the country and the European Union; in this context, he proposed considering the freedom of movement separately from the social benefits.

Iohannis revealed in a press conference that his talks with Cameron concerned the renegotiation of the relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union, in view of the future referendum on the country’s EU membership.

According to the President, the British prime minister mentioned the goals of the renegotiation process, namely the increase of the EU’s democratic legitimacy, the granting of more powers to the national parliaments, the consolidation of the Union’s competitiveness, the balancing of euro and non-euro countries, the freedom of movement of European citizens and the limitation of their access to social benefits.

“I insisted the place of the United Kingdom was clearly within the European Union. A possible exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union would result in weakening the Union on one hand and the United Kingdom on the other hand. In my opinion – which I asserted very clearly – the fundamental right of free movement of individuals in the European Union cannot be questioned. It’s the freedom of movement of the workforce, one of the basic principles of the European Union, and I have stressed that ensuring equal treatment to all EU citizens was fundamental and must be guaranteed. I have also underlined the fact that, in our analysis, the solutions to answer the British concerns did not request changes to the Union treaties,” the President declared.

He mentioned that the talks on the matter were not focused on the Romanian or Romanian-origin citizens.

“Prime Minister Cameron’s concern is not necessarily linked to this right; he even stressed that in his opinion this was an acquired right that should be kept, while nevertheless there are many people asking for social benefits within this movement – hence the problem. (…) I was glad to note – and I stressed it – that Prime Minister Cameron asserted on his own initiative the acceptance of the right to free movement of individuals within the EU and was concerned about the financial side, by the social benefits,” Iohannis detailed.

“My interest is that Romanians be treated as EU citizens throughout the Union, but I understand that the United Kingdom has a problem. If so, let’s talk and find solutions,” he concluded.


Iohannis: I’ve sustained in Brussels the need to change mechanisms of interregional cooperation


President Klaus Iohannis on Thursday declared that he has sustained in Brussels, at the EU-CELAC summit, the necessity to change the interregional cooperation mechanisms in order to maintain efficient the collaboration between Europe and Latin America.

‘I’ve sustained within the debates this necessity of change, of updating the mechanisms of interregional cooperation, in order to maintain efficient the collaboration between the two continents as a strategic instrument not only to this process, but also for a more active, more concerted action in solving global problems. The stand and viewpoints expressed by Romania are found in the summit’s conclusions,’ said Klaus Iohannis in Brussels, where he has participated in the European Union – The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States summit.

He specified that the summit took place considering that it became obvious the need to adapt the interregional cooperation mechanisms to the current international and global context. The head of state added that the need of identifying innovative solutions within a balanced, even partnership for global challenges was approached, too, alongside the sustainable development and post-2015 development, the closure and upgrading of the commercial bi- and multilateral agreements, the poverty eradication, the fight against climate changes.

Likewise, Klaus Iohannis specified that two joint declarations were endorsed, one political, one of principles, which set the bases of the interregional partnership, as well as an action plan for the implementation of the declaration of principles, that presupposes joint initiatives in fields such as information research and technology, social inclusion, urban development and immigration, Agerpres informs.

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