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February 8, 2023

PM Ciolos announces Berlin, Paris visits early next year, Netherlands probably on trips agenda too

Premier Dacian Ciolos announced on Friday that following the talks he had at the EU Council meeting he will travel early next year to Germany, France and the Netherlands, and will also return to Brussels for “detailed” discussions with the President of the European Council and other leaders on the role Romania seeks in the EU, Agerpres correspondent reports.

“I’ll be back to Brussels early next year for more detailed talks with the Commission President, the President of Parliament and the Council President on Romania’s plans. Following the informal contacts I had here at the Council, I decided together with Mrs. Merkel to arrange a visit to Berlin in early January, there will be another visit to Paris and most probably one to the Netherlands, because this country will take over the EU half-year Presidency early in January. I agreed with Premier Mark Rutte to discuss the calendar and the agenda of the Dutch Presidency because, as I told him too, Romania seeks a proactive role in the European Union in the coming months, and we want to see which are the priorities of the Netherlands and how we can get involved,” Ciolos told a press conference at the end of the EU Council meeting.

“I have talked with Timmermans about administration reform”

Dacian Ciolos on Friday announced that at the meeting with First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans he discussed the Government’s intentions to reform the administration, having requested European support for this bid.

“On the sidelines of this Council meeting, I had a meeting with First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans. (…) We had a practical discussion on what the Government plans to do in Romania, in respect to reforms, especially the reform of administration reform, on increasing the administration performance, and here I asked for support to the effect that we should be also able to use financial resources from technical assistance programmes to implement this reform process. I wanted him to be updated with what we want to do in this year of tenure,” the Prime Minister told a press conference at the end of the European Council meeting.

“I back Corina Cretu, it would be ridiculous for someone to say I am interested in her being unsuccessful”

Ciolos also announced in Brussels that he backs Corina Cretu and that he has no interest in her having “an unsuccessful” mandate as European Commissioner.

Asked what he thought about the recent media pressure on Corina Cretu, the head of the Government in Bucharest replied: “I have backed Corina Cretu and I have respected President Juncker’s decision right from the start, (…) and now, as Prime Minister, I believe that it is important for Romania that Mrs Cretu carry out her activity in good conditions and I hope this will happen. (…) And that is why I was surprised with the allegations which appeared in the press regarding a grudge or interest on my part to affect the quality of her term. I want to say once again that I wish Corina Cretu success and I had a conversation with her on the phone recently, I wish him success and I will give her all my support. I have absolutely no other ambitions and it would be ridiculous for somebody to say that I have interest in Corina Cretu being unsuccessful, especially now when I assumed this responsibility as prime minister.”

Ciolos added he did not believe Romania’s image is affected and said that he trusts in the ability of European Commission’s President Jean Claude Juncker to decide on the functioning of the Commission.

“I do not think that Romania’s image is affected. It would be affected if we started a scandal. I have confidence in President Juncker’s ability to decide on the functioning of the Commission and the performance of commissioners. I went through this experience as a member of the European Commission myself and I know how they work there,” Prime Minister Ciolos said.

We can’t use Treaty amendment to introduce certain discrimination in existing rights
Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos said on Friday that the founding treaties of the European Union cannot be modified “to introduce certain discriminations in the already existing rights,” in reference to the discussions of the European leaders on the UK’s request to restrict the social benefits for the immigrants who go to the UK.

Asked, in a press conference, if he agrees with the modification of the treaties to satisfy the requests of the British, Ciolos replied: “No, categorically [it is not acceptable]. I have stated very clearly: we cannot use a Treaty amendment to introduce certain discriminations in the rights already set forth in the Treaty. (…) I believe that the British Prime Minister has understood very well the concerns of the member states in this direction and is willing to work together to find solutions and also jointly work with the Commission, as the Commission will come up with proposals that address not only the UK issue, but also much more general topics regarding social rights, and ways to find a dedicated solution.”

The Prime Minister had previously said that “a modification of the treaties for certain measures is also discussed,” but that British Prime Minister David Cameron underscored during the discussions that he does not wish an express modification of the treaties, before the referendum, but seeks a perspective.

“When such a modification of the treaty takes place it should take into account these discussions,” Ciolos said.

British PM David Cameron promised to organise by the end of 2017 a referendum concerning the pros and cons of the UK remaining inside the European Union. In the perspective of this referendum, Cameron is trying to renegotiate the terms of his country’s affiliation to the EU.

The most difficult aspect on the request list presented by David Cameron is the proposal that in the first four years since arriving on British territory the citizens of other EU states working in the UK should not receive in-work benefits. This possible measure would however infringe the EU treaties, as it would discriminate against a certain category of European citizens.

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