President Klaus Iohannis said in Cluj on Thursday that the EU is in a complicated situation and that his concern is to find the best solutions for Romania.
“Over the past two years, I have given a lot of thought to EU-related matters. The EU is in a complicated situation and we all have to find solutions. My ambition is to find for Romania the best solutions possible,” Iohannis mentioned.
President Klaus Iohannis participated on Thursday in the debate “The European Union between disintegration and reform. Romania’s contribution to consolidating the European construction,” organised in Cluj-Napoca by the CITADEL think tank of the Babes-Bolyai University (UBB).
The debate, also attended by UBB rector, academician Ioan Aurel Pop, focused on assessing the topical problems the EU is confronted with and on presenting Romania’s vision on reforming the European project.
The debate was organised on the occasion of the International Students’ Day, marked on 17 November since 1941, under a decision of the International Council of Students organised in London to commemorate the 1939 demonstrations at the University in Prague against the German occupation of Czechoslovakia.
The CITADEL international reflection and analysis group was established in 2013, as an initiative of a group of young specialists in political sciences and international relations, European studies, American studies, cultural studies and international economy of the Faculty of European Studies of the Babes-Bolyai University.
“NATO and transatlantic relations will continue to function”
President Klaus Iohannis also said in Cluj on Thursday that he is positive that the transatlantic relations will continue to function, including in respect to NATO, even if these relations could be redefined.
“The relations will be partially redefined, partially changed, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be worse, they can be even better,” Klaus Iohannis said in reply to a question on the evolution of transatlantic relations.
He added that what Donald Trump said in the election campaign concerning NATO was also proposed in Romania.
“I know there is a concern for what the US and NATO will do. In my opinion, the US will continue to play the same role as so far, the role of the biggest NATO member and with the greatest involvement in very many areas, both conflict and non-conflict areas. You know very well that in the election campaign, politicians make various statements to define their profile or to draw the attention. Many times, after the campaign, after they win the elections, these statements are nuanced, they correlate to the actual stage of the project, etc. When candidate Donald Trump referred to NATO, I understood his approach was very similar to the one we had last year, finding that over the past decade very many countries have cut down their defence budget, as they believed that after the Soviet Union ceased to exist things on the globe would calm down, and the army would no longer be needed, defence would no longer be needed. Unfortunately, it is a mistake. We would all be glad not to have wars, but practice shows us there are very many, even more. Therefore it is absurd for the developed or highly developed countries to stay without permanent and performing defence systems, because we would be at the hand of some who are neither developed nor well-intentioned,” Iohannis said.
The head of the state went on pointing out that last year he proposed the allotment of 2 percent of GDP for Defence.
He also referred to the economic relations between the US and the EU, including to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement.
“The TTIP will not be concluded in the coming years. But this is not only because the US approach changes. If you have followed the discussions on the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), you have seen that the European side’s approach has changed the most. Increasingly more European actors show reticence to such understandings and then I allow myself to say that some actors are in fact glad that the US side isn’t quite willing to continue, because otherwise they would have to admit they themselves are not willing to continue. I believe the TTIP will not make progress in the coming years. That doesn’t meant that the relations between the US and the EU will not be able to grow. They might grow. They exist now, things are working,” Romania’s President mentioned.
According to him, the transatlantic relations will continue to function, as both the US and Europe are interested in that.