On the second day of a visit to Brussels, Romania’s Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos on Tuesday met President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, with Ciolos reasserting that Romania wants to undertake more proactively its membership of the European Union and get actively involved in European files.
“Besides the 2016 priorities of the Government, including holding local and general elections and actual reform projects, Ciolos introduced the opinion of his Cabinet on the renegotiation of UK’s EU membership,” the Government says in a press statement.
The Government says at the end of his visit with Schultz, Ciolos signed the European Parliament’s distinguished guestbook, as this was the PM’s first visit to the headquarters of the European Parliament since taking over office.
“I believe the idea of lifting the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism on Romania was understood here in Brussels, that we have our own mechanisms and are mature enough to continue the fight against corruption and to consolidate all the achievements so far,” Ciolos is quoted as saying, mentioning at the end of the visit the positive signals that came from Brussels.
On the other hand, Ciolos explained how Romania wants to back up Moldova’s reforms, what the conditions are for its granting the support in conjunction with the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and that he wants the assistance to go straightly to the citizens.
The statement also says that in the same line of supporting Romania’s pro-active part at the European Union level, Ciolos discussed with Romanian MEPs to whom he suggested a mechanism for joint work on major European themes that will allow for a periodic exchange of opinions between them.
Ciolos also met leader of the Social Democratic MEP group Gianni Pittelli and leader of the European People’s Party MEP group Martin Weber.
Also featuring on the PM’s agenda on Tuesday were meetings with European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen, European Commission Vice-President for the Energy Union Maros Sefcovic, and European Commission Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue Valdis Dombrovskis.
“I’ve suggested MEPs we meet once a month in Bucharest”
Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos on Tuesday said he suggested Romanian MEPs that they convene in monthly meetings in Bucharest for an exchange of opinions on European affairs.
“I discussed with the Romanian MEPs and agreed on setting up a mechanism for talks and working together. I suggested that we meet at least once a month in Bucharest, preferably on Monday because they have to go back to Brussels or Strasbourg on Monday afternoon or Tuesday, so that we may have an exchange of opinions on the main items on the European agenda,” Ciolos told journalists at a briefing at the European Parliament.
He said he informed the MEPs that in the period immediately ahead he will switch the European Affairs Department under the authority of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister.
“There is an emergency ordinance dating back some years that says the European Affairs Department is at the Foreign Ministry but operating under the coordination of the prime minister, and we will apply what is provided for. Mr [Cristian] Badescu, the deputy head of [Romania’s] representation [in Brussels] will be appointed secretary of state in the period immediately ahead to run the European Affairs Department. The department will be tasked with reactivating the European Affairs Board, which should convene in weekly meetings for operative talks on the European agenda (…) and help Romania coordinate its positions on various topics,” said Ciolos, who on Tuesday morning, met Romanian MEPs at the European Parliament.
“Things are going in the right direction for lifting CVM on Romania”
Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos pointed out that, as far as lifting the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) on Romania is concerned, under which the country’s progress with judiciary reform and the fight against corruption is gauged annually, “things are going in the right direction.”
“So far there has been hesitation in publicly stating the idea of separation between Romania and Bulgaria. It is clearly accepted that, indeed, Romania’s latest reports are positive. I am not hiding the fact that, beyond the moment when the decision is made, the manner in which the election campaign will unfold and the manner in which the elections will run and the result of the general election will be a test – not a formal one – but one of responsibility for Romania, for the Romanian society (…) and, of course, for the political class,” Ciolos told a media briefing in Brussels.
European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker on Monday voiced his conviction that during the tenure of the current commission, the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) would come to an end in Romania’s case.
“I told Mr prime minister once more that I am positive that during the tenure of my commission we will end the CVM. There is no close connection between what I would call Bulgaria’s case and Romania’s case. The two cases are separate. If Romania surpasses our Bulgarian friends, most certainly the mechanism will end if Romania keeps the current level of implementing the expectations of the European Commission and of the member states when this happens,” Juncker told a joint news conference in Brussels with Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos.