*Bucharest concerned for Romanians living in United Kingdom
As expected, the results of the United Kingdom referendum in which almost 52 percent of voters were in favour of leaving the European Union have generated ample reactions in Romania too, both from the political class as well as decision-making factors from financial-economic circles. A major concern seen in all statements has to do with the fate of Romanians in the United Kingdom but also with the national strategy on the future of relations between Romania and the EU. An interesting point of view has been launched by President Iohannis, who expressed himself in favour of the need to draft a new national project on this topic.
“Now is the time for us to make up for the lost time, to draw up a new country project, which we will do together. I will assure Romanians that the so-called Brexit crisis has import opportunities for Romania and together with the entire political class we will make sure Romania and the EU will come out of the crisis strengthened,” President Klaus Iohannis said on Friday after an emergency meeting at Cotroceni Palace attended by the Prime Minister, the Governor of the National Bank of Romania and party leaders.
Last Thursday’s vote has resulted in the start of a process with many imponderables for British leaders, the British people and European leaders alike. Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s European summit in Brussels could mark the start of United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. However, in order for that to happen London has to officially and explicitly demand its withdrawal from the Union. This can be made through a letter but also verbally at the summit, a European official stated, being quoted by Reuters.
Meanwhile, the EU’s founding members insist that the negotiations on United Kingdom’s exit should start as soon as possible. Germany and France, alongside Italy, Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg do not want to wait until October and have even suggested that the British Premier should be replaced rapidly in order to allow the start of Brexit talks so that there will not be a period of confusion that could have economic, financial but also political consequences.
The message from Berlin was as clear as possible: the start of negotiations over United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union should not be postponed.
“Following the United Kingdom’s decision, negotiations on the exit from the European Union should take place after Article 50 is activated. We agreed here that this process should start as soon as possible and should not be postponed,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated.
“Bearing in mind that the British people have voted, we have to respect their vote. Consequently, we demand that the European treaty should be respected, that Article 50 of this treaty should be respected, which means that it has to be enforced,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault stated in his turn.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel tried to moderate the haste of the six foreign ministers and said that she does not insist on a rapid plan for United Kingdom’s exit from the EU, but that she does not want a lengthy process either.
President Iohannis calls emergency meeting at the Cotroceni Palace
President Klaus Iohannis welcomed the political consensus expressed on Friday by the political leaders he discussed with at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace, as they view Romania’s stability as an asset in the negotiations that will follow in the EU on the Brexit, and consider that this advantage should not be put under doubt.
Iohannis: Political leaders agree Romania’s stability is an asset in upcoming negotiations with EU
“I was very pleased to see there is consensus among the political leaders. They all agreed that Romania’s course should be within the EU, at the side of the other member states. They all agreed that an important asset for Romania in all the future renegotiation stages is stability and the fact that the country registers economic growth. And everybody agreed that this asset should not be placed under doubt for electoral reasons,” said Klaus Iohannis after the emergency meeting he called at the Cotroceni Palace in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.
Attending the consultations at Cotroceni Palace on Friday were Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos, National Bank of Romania (BNR) Governor Mugur Isarescu, co-chairs of the National Liberal Party (PNL) Alina Gorghiu and Vasile Blaga, national leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Liviu Dragnea, national leader of the National Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR) Valeriu Steriu as well as co-chair of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) Daniel Constantin.
“We regret this vote, but respect it; Romania is convinced EU must go on”
Romania stays attached to the European design, as it is convinced that the EU must go on, President Klaus Iohannis said Friday.
“We have assessed the situation created by the referendum held yesterday in the UK and which, unfortunately, resulted in what is already known as Brexit, namely UK’s leaving the EU, which we regret. We regret this vote, but, at the same time, I want to say it very clearly that we respect this vote. The EU is a very valuable project; Romania has been a country that wanted to be an EU member from the very beginning, a country that has strongly supported the European idea. Given the circumstances, I want to say it very clearly after these consultations: Romania stays attached to the European design; Romania is convinced that the EU must go on, it is a good project and we must be a part of it,” the head of state said Friday, at the end of an emergency meeting at Cotroceni Palace on the Brexit effects.
He added that “unity and solidarity are still needed inside the EU, in the 27 member states which will remain in the Union.”
“At the same time, it is very important for Romanians to understand that at this moment we should stay calm and there is no need to overreact,” the head of state said.
Iohannis: I will attend next week’s European Council meeting; new country project needed
President Klaus Iohannis will be attending next week a meeting in Brussels of the European Council, and when returning to Bucharest he will talk about a future plan.
“Tuesday and Wednesday next week, a European Council meeting will be held that I will be attending. When I return, I will invite all those who attended today’s talks – the prime minister, the governor of the National Bank of Romania and party leaders – to inform them about what was discussed and decided upon in Brussels, so that we agree together on what to do next. To everybody it is clear that Europe, the European Union, has a lot to do. We have to redefine the European design, to improve it, to make it easier to understand to the everyday people, to improve its performance. The same is valid for Romania as well. There used to be political consensus and will for European integration. Unfortunately, there was no national project after accession. Now is the time for us to make up for the lost time, to draw up a new country project, which we will do together. I will assure Romanians that the so-called Brexit crisis has import opportunities for Romania and together with the entire political class we will make sure Romania and the EU will come out of the crisis strengthened,” Iohannis said after an emergency meeting at Cotroceni Palace.
Iohannis: UK’s leaving EU, a lengthy process; Romania will carefully negotiate for its nationals
Part of the discussions inside the European Union on the UK leaving the union, Romania will negotiate so that its interest will be protected and also cheerfully for the Romanians who are living and working in the UK, Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis said Friday.
“There are many issues that the public opinion should know. First, the UK’s pulling out of the EU will not happen overnight. It is a process that will take quite some time to complete. Specialists are estimating it to take two years, in which time negotiations will be conducted. I can assure you from the start that Romania is a party to the negations and it will negotiate in order to protect its interest. Very importantly, Romania will negotiate so as to take care of the Romanians living and working in the UK,” Iohannis said at the end of an emergency meeting on Brexit outcomes at Cotroceni Palace..
He added that after leaving the EU, the UK will stay an important partner to Romania, but it will be in no privileged position in relation with the European Union.
“Impact on Romanian economy not significant; national currency not to encounter difficulties”
President Klaus Iohannis said that data with Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos indicate the Brexit impact on the Romanian economy “is not significant,” and data with the National Bank of Romania (BNR) Governor show the shock on the national currency is “low and manageable.”
“The prime minister assured me that the Brexit impact on the Romanian economy isn’t significant; there is no reason for concern and this impact will be managed without any major difficulties. I have requested and received data from the BNR governor; they show the impact on the national currency is low and manageable. Our leu will not have problems, the BNR governor assured us,” Iohannis pointed out at the end of an emergency meeting at Cotroceni Palace on the Brexit effects.
PM Ciolos: I regret the outcome of UK referendum; we respect the option
Romania’s Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos said Friday that he regrets the outcome of the UK’s referendum on EU membership.
“Regretfully, I have learned about the outcome of the referendum in the UK. That is an option of the British people we respect. I want to tell you that the message I have taken from the conversation with Mr President, with the governor of the National Bank of Romania and political leaders is that Romania wants to continue on its European path and be a proactive player in the development of the EU that will certainly follow this decision of the UK,” Ciolos said at the Government House on Friday.
He added that a first analysis shows there will be no immediate significant impact on Romania’s economy, and the same is valid for Romanian nationals living and working in the UK.
“Our first analysis indicates that there will be no significant immediate economic impact on Romania following this decision. We will continue to pay attention to the developments, we will continue to look at analyses; there will certainly be an impact on and some developments in Romania’s economy as well, the same as there will be at a European and international levels. But, the main message is that economically speaking, given the current circumstances, (…) we do not expect any short-term significant impact. Another message I want to convey, especially to the Romanian nationals living and working in the UK: there will be no immediate impact on the rights and obligations they have there as Romanian nationals and as European citizens,” said Ciolos.
He explained that it will take at least two years for the outcome of the UK referendum to be implemented, during which negations will be conducted to which Romania will be an active party.
“According to a first analysis that European institutions have also made, it will take at least two years for the framework and the conditions of the UK’s leaving the EU to be negotiated over, as the UK officials will have to make the referendum outcome formal in a formal request to the European institutions. The next stages entail a formal request (…) after which exit negotiations will start between European institutions and the UK, with Romania taking part actively in the negotiations to make sure the exit will take place under circumstances that meet our expectations as well. This will be a process that will take time to complete and which will allow us to voice our opinions,” added Ciolos.
Prime Minister calls to prudent political decisions in election year, use of good economy condition in Brexit context
Romania should turn its good economic condition into an asset for increasing its profile in the European Union, Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos declared on Thursday, after discussing the Brexit with his deputies and foreign affairs minister.
As 2016 is an election year in Romania, he called for caution in political decisions.
“Romania presently enjoys a good economic condition, and it is very important to make it – through the measures we take and the attitude we have in the near future, both at government and political class levels – an asset to increase Romania’s possible role and impact as a EU member state in the forthcoming talks. From this point of view, I cannot but call to caution in the political decisions to be taken in this election year, especially the political decisions that might have an impact on the budget; political decisions that generally might impact the economy,” the prime minister told media at the Victoria Palace (government seat) ij a briefing on the UK referendum for leaving the EU.
Ciolos said that analysis will be carried on in his government to assess the possible impact of the UK move on Romania.
“We shall work and continue our analyses along three lines: economic, social and institutional. We will submit these elements to debate and talks; we will inform you, because I think it’s very important that the positions we build, the debates we organise be based on facts and elements as accurate and factual as possible, to keep this debate within reasonable limits of calm and predictability,” he insisted.
Senate Speaker Tariceanu : Senate will analyse predictable effects of UK vote
Chairman of the Romanian Senate Calin Popescu-Tariceanu says the Senate’s parliamentarian groups and the Committee on Foreign Affairs will analyse the predictable effects of the recent vote on the UK leaving the European Union and publish their conclusions.
“As I stated some days ago, we would have liked the outcome of the UK referendum to be in favour of the UK remaining in the EU, but we all, European citizens and governments, have an obligation to respect the majority choice of the UK electorate. The UK giving up on its EU membership, when officially demanded by the Cameron Government, will take two to five years to materialise by a procedure that will be applied as a first. Until then, the European institutions, the governments of the member states and all bodies involved will make their own estimates and analysis and act accordingly. In this sense, I want to commend President Iohannis for his preoccupation materialised in the talks he has initiated today at the Cotroceni Palace, which will surely continue after thorough analysis of all the factors involved,” Tariceanu said in a press statement released on Friday to Agerpres.
He says Romania should continue to be a loyal partner to the European Union.
“I believe I am speaking in the name of a majority of the Romanian people, the political forces and public administrations when I say that Romania will continue to be a loyal partner to the European Union acting in the spirit of solidarity that has made this design possible,” said Tariceanu.
Minister Ghinea: I feel like a child whose parents just informed him they are getting a divorce
European Funds Minister Cristian Ghinea stated that the impact the Brexit news had on him is similar to the way “a child whose parents just informed him they are getting a divorce” feels.
“I learned European policies at the best social science school in Europe, in London, on a scholarship I won from Her Majesty’s Government. So I learned about the EU in the UK and I got used to seeing the two acronyms going together. The feeling of a child whose parents have just informed him they are getting a divorce,” the European Funds Ministry wrote on his Facebook page.
Liviu Dragnea calls for calm: I’ve demanded a serious Gov’t analysis on Brexit’s consequences
Social Democratic Party (PSD) President Liviu Dragnea called for calm and responsibility, against the backdrop of the British people’s decision to leave the EU, but asked for a serious analysis that would generate several plans, at the same time criticising the Government for not having “a plan B.”
“It’s the British people’s decision, a decision we respect. PSD strongly and firmly supports Romania’s European path. Apart from the fact that both the BNR Governor and the Prime Minister assured us that at this moment the impact is not major and can be managed, we should not make the fatal mistake of believing that nothing happened or of pretending that nothing happened or that things can continue as before. There is the need, at the European level, for a serious analysis carried out by European leaders,” Liviu Dragnea stated.
He claims there is the need for an analysis that would lead to the clear defining of the European project.
“In Romania, I’ve asked today for a serious and rapid analysis that would maybe generate several plans, because nobody knows how things will evolve, how the European project will be modified. This analysis, which the Government and institutions specialised in this kind of analyses should carry out, will be supported by us and our specialists, and its main objective should be Romania’s interest in this context. Romania has to be a strong voice, an active partner in the process of EU’s modernisation,” Dragnea added.
The PSD leader also asked for the interests of Romanians living in the UK to be protected.
“My call is for calm and responsibility. These days it is very easy, especially since it is an elections year, for more or less prominent political leaders to use this opportunity to score ephemeral PR points,” the PSD President added.
He refused to comment on the statements made by Premier Dacian Ciolos, who had asked party leaders to show caution, but he criticised the Government.
“I believe Mr. Dacian Ciolos, along with the entire cabinet, should make fewer warlike statements and seriously focus on this analysis. I’m not adamant to criticise, but it would have been good for the Romanian Government to have a plan B too. This doesn’t mean it cannot be made quickly and we are willing – the President insists on it – to actively take part in this programme,” Liviu Dragnea added.
He also called on political leaders to start a long-term national development plan that would cover a period of 20-25 years.
Alina Gorghiu: Some Brits now regret their vote. Romanians have to vote with lucidity in the autumn
The stake of the parliamentary elections scheduled this autumn is the consolidation of the partnership with the U.S., NATO and the EU in the new context created by Brexit, and Romanians will have to choose between PNL, “the only party that looks toward the West,” and those who want to hit the brakes on the fight against corruption, PNL leader Alina Gorghiu believes.
“Romania has to consolidate her partnership with the U.S., NATO and the EU in the new European context. The elections scheduled at the end of this year are essential. I encourage Romanians to elect only the parties that have a firm Euroatlantic orientation. Those who want to hit the brakes on the fight against corruption and the political nihilists are only playing into the hands of anti-Western currents, even unintentionally. PNL is the only Romanian party that is looking solely toward the West,” the PNL Co-President wrote on her Facebook page.
Gorghiu also says that the British allegedly did not know what they voted for, some of them realising just now what the consequences of leaving the EU are and regretting the decision, and Romanians cannot afford such a luxury: “In the case of the United Kingdom, an entire country was kept in the dark regarding the question ‘what do I win vs. what do I lose?’ It’s something extremely rare in history and it has never ended well. Some are regretting their vote today, realising that they fell into the trap of irresponsible politicians. We, on the other hand, cannot afford the luxury of such a regret. That is why this is what it will be about in our case too this autumn, maybe in different terms: parallel realities vs. lucidity.”
Catalin Predoiu asks for Jean-Claude Junker’s resignation: There is the need for a new President of the European Commission who would be less of a colleague with Putin
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has his share of responsibility for Brexit and should resign, PNL First Vice President Catalin Predoiu stated, also reproaching the European official with being close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Brexit is not only the failure of Cameron, Juncker has his share of responsibility too and should follow Cameron’s example and resign. It would be a gesture of responsibility. Resignation does not mean chaos, the perpetuation of the lack of responsibility generates chaos,” Predoiu wrote on his Facebook page.
The Liberal also added that “there is the need for a new President of the European Commission, one who would be less of a colleague with Putin.
EP Vice-President Ioan Mircea Pascu: UK decision must be respected
MEP and European Parliament Vice-President Ioan Mircea Pascu believes that the United Kingdom’s decision to exit the European Union should be respected, but regrets that “the European project has been hijacked by a domestic political game.”
“This is a very important day through the British decision’s implications we cannot even entirely anticipate. But this is the will of the British people. (…) If I have one regret is that a nation with the education and experience of the Britons let themselves persuaded by the lies of Mr. Farage & Co,” Pascu wrote in a release to Agerpres on Friday.
According to the Social Democrat MEP, the only “somewhat positive” element is that those who wish to remain in the European Union will be able to carry on without being obstructed from the inside.
“There’s a lot to do from now on in connection with setting into practice UK’s decision to exit the EU, but I’m afraid that the Britons will no longer enjoy the understanding they had so far. (…) If there is someone to enjoy the moment, this is the Kremlin, which was offered for free what it would otherwise have had to buy from Europe’s extremist parties,” Pascu argued.
Siegfried Muresan: We have to give an important signal that the rights of Romanians in the UK will be defended
EPP MEP and Spokesperson Siegfried Muresan stated for Mediafax that Romania will not suffer serious economic consequences following Brexit, but that measures have to be taken in order to protect Romanians in the United Kingdom.
“The consequences for United Kingdom will be severe, for Romania there will not be severe economic consequences. We have to think about the Romanians who went to work in another member state, in United Kingdom, and who find themselves outside the European Union against their will. I believe we have to give a very important signal to the Romanians in United Kingdom that we will protect their rights, that we will protect their interests and that we will see to it that in the negotiations with the United Kingdom the Romanians’ freedom of movement will not be limited,” Siegfried Muresan stated.
EPP’s Spokesperson stated that United Kingdom will stand to suffer the most as a result of the decision to leave the European Union, especially from an economic standpoint. He added that the other member states now have to show more solidarity as ever in order to continue the European project.
“There will be major consequences primarily on United Kingdom: the currency will depreciate; the economy will enter a very long period of uncertainty. British companies that were exporting to the European Union were benefitting from the internal market, from the Schengen Area; they will lose massively, they will lose contracts, which means that more British people will lose their jobs,” Muresan explained.
Ex-President Traian Basescu: What have you done, David Cameron? For those remaining in the EU it’s the time for full solidarity
Ex-President Traian Basescu stated on Friday that he did not think it would be possible for the UK to leave the European Union, suggesting that British Premier David Cameron is responsible and pointing out that it is the time for the states that remain in the EU to show full solidarity.
“What have you done, David Cameron? I didn’t think it possible. United Kingdom is leaving the EU. The domestic political games of British politicians have led to holding a referendum in which 46 million people were asked to cast a vote on an extremely complicated issue that very few of the British voters understood. The great majority voted unaware of the mechanisms and consequences of leaving the EU,” the ex-president wrote on Facebook on Friday.
“Brexit? Impossible! Nobody will sign for United Kingdom’s exit from the EU”
On Saturday, the ex-president returned on Facebook and wrote that British politicians have taken “irresponsibility” to the limit by pushing their own people to have a say in a referendum on an issue they had no way of understanding. Moreover, Basescu points out that nobody will sign the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.
“Brexit? Impossible! In their bitter fight over votes, British politicians have taken irresponsibility to the limit by pushing their own people to have a say in a referendum on an issue they had no way of understanding. And the people voted the way they understood,” Traian Basescu wrote on Facebook.
He claimed the referendum’s result has lit “the fuses of two bombs.”
“The first has to do with the fact that, knowing the consequences, a British government will have to be found that would activate Article 50 of the Treaty and would demand, in writing, the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. I want to see the politician who signs the demand. Personally, I believe the one who does that could be undoubtedly declared the most innocent man in the world, unless he will be declared traitor.”
“The second bomb has to do with the fact that if the exit demand is somehow signed by an irresponsible person then the process of independence for Scotland and Northern Ireland, which opted to remain in the EU, will start while that person is on his way to Brussels to place the demand on the EU’s table,” Traian Basescu points out.
The ex-president’s conclusion is that nobody will sign in favour of United Kingdom leaving the European Union.
“At any rate, the referendum has left behind a profoundly divided nation,” Traian Basescu concluded.