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June 22, 2021

ForMin Comanescu: Experience with Canada trade agreement cannot but be followed in trade agreement with US

Romania’s Foreign Minister Lazar Comanescu said Thursday, in relation to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the European Union and Canada, that differentiated approaches of European citizens by a third party are not normal, adding that this agreement will be an experience that cannot but be followed in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US.

In an interview to the RFI radio broadcaster, Comanescu said that Romania is one of the strongest supporters inside the European Union of a solid transatlantic framework, because agreements such as those with Canada and with the US pave the way for new opportunities, including for the Romanian economy.

The Romanian head diplomat added that an agreement between the EU and Canada should not allow discrimination against some of the European Union citizens.

“We cannot think of any agreement formula between, on the one hand the European Union, which means Romania as well, and Canada, on the other, under which the principle of free movement of persons will apply only to a part of the European Union citizens. That would mean discrimination; it would mean accepting an agreement that will discriminate against Romanian and Bulgarian nationals. (…) That is the essential part we have discussed and continue to do so with our Canadian partners (…) I believe there are reasons for us to be optimistic that in the end a formula will be worked out that will adequately reflect this part that is extremely important to Romania; that would be the compromise for us to sign and then ratify the treaty with Canada,” said Comanescu.

He added that this is not stymieing negotiations over the agreement, but an effort to find a solution for the agreement to be signed. Moreover, Comanescu said Romania’s European partners are supporting Romania’s point of view.

“The president of the European Commission and the European commissioners in charge with the matter, including Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini, have acted and continues to act on the same topic and with this message of the importance for all the European citizens to enjoy equal treatment under the agreement. Besides having bilateral meetings with them, I have also had mutual exchanges of opinions to see how we can act to solve this very important problem from an ethical perspective as well, not just from an economic one. Differentiated approaches of European citizens by a third party are not normal, even when the third party is a very important partner,” said Comanescu.

Asked about whether or not this could be the model for the agreement with the US, Comanescu said: “That will certainly be an experience that cannot but be followed.”

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