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December 1, 2020

President Klaus Iohannis to participate in European Council meeting Thursday and Friday

President Klaus Iohannis participates on Thursday and Friday in the European Council meeting in Brussels.

On the meeting sidelines, the head of state will participate for the first time since taking over his tenure in the European People’s Party Summit.

Iohannis will also have a meeting with Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo.

The Presidential Administration points out in a press release that the agenda of the European Council meeting includes two topics of major importance for the future of the European Union: the process of renegotiation of the relation between the UK and the EU, and the migration crisis. At the meeting, the EU leaders will also discuss the recent developments in Syria and Libya.

“The European Council will voice an opinion on the package proposed by European Council President Donald Tusk on February 2, meant to address the concerns raised by the UK about redefining the relation with the EU, in the interest areas: competitiveness, economic governance, sovereignty, social services and free movement. Romania is in favour of an appropriate formula being identified, which responds to UK’s expectations and allowing it to remain in the European Union. At the same time, our country will require the identified solution to fully observe the Union’s treaties, the fundamental principles and values of the EU and the European legislation,” the release reads.

According to the release, in the crisis management area, the EU states’ leaders will assess the stage of implementing the already agreed measures, with a focus on the protection of EU’s external borders, the consolidation of cooperation with third countries, Turkey included, in view of reducing migration flows, implementing the EU – Turkey Action Plan in the migration area, monitoring the migration route in the Western Balkans, the return and readmission policy, the measures agreed in relation to the internal dimension of migration, the humanitarian assistance for the Syrian refugees and the states in Syria’s neighbourhood.

The Presidential Administration shows that on the occasion of their meeting, President Iohannis and the Polish Prime Minister will approach the current developments inside the EU, as well as aspects related to the bilateral relation.

Iohannis: European Council might discuss adjusting child allowance to child’s domicile

President Klaus Iohannis says at the European Council meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday Romania will not accept free movement restrictions or discrimination against the Romanian nationals in relation to social benefits, as part of negotiations to avoid UK pulling out of the EU, known as Brexit, adding that the summit might discuss adjusting child allowances to the country where the children actually live.

“In no way will we accept the free movement being called into question. Likewise, we do not accept (…) discrimination; we cannot accept that someone originating from Romania is treated differently than someone coming from Spain or Italy. There should be equal treatment of all the EU people. (…) Adjusting child allowance to the country where the child lives might be discussed. Parents can obviously choose and that is why after a time of adjustments they can come up and say: ‘If that’s so, we prefer brining the child to Spain or Italy to get full allowance’ or ‘No. We are good. We let the child with their grandparents in Romania and get allowance that is curtailed,’ so we are not talking about cutting it down to a very small size. All this should be done but so that there may be a reasonable time for adjustment and without any discrimination. I can never accept Romanians being treated differently than Poles, Italians or Germans,” Iohannis told TVR 1 public broadcaster in an interview aired on Wednesday evening.

He added that if the safeguard mechanism is accepted, it should be accepted in the short run only, for exceptional cases and only in regard to the UK.

Iohannis added that as far as changing the rules for the award of social security benefits in the UK is concerned, Romania argues they should not apply retroactively.

The President underscored that the UK should stay inside the European Union, but insisted that Romania cannot accept discrimination against the Romanian nationals.

He also said that European Council summit will not discuss mandatory refugee quotas because the reception centres in Greece and Italy are not prepared for the mechanism.

The solutions Romania suggests, he said, are very simple and very clear designed to secure the external borders of the European Union and solving the issues in the source countries.

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