Romania is at a non-stage as far as its accession to the Eurozone is concerned, President Iohannis said Thursday in northwestern Cluj-Napoca, adding that it is not good for Romania to get fixated on a deadline for accession.
‘We have to fulfil certain conditions, which in principle we already do, but politicians were overzealous when they set 2019 as the deadline for our accession to the Eurozone. That is so unrealistic that not even the required technical committees are in place,’ said Iohannis.
He added that 2015 was the last time when the latest developments in Romania’s switchover to the European single currency were assessed.
‘Somewhere in early 2015, I wanted us to be there in 2019, but that was neither realistic nor feasible. No assessment were made since to restate when to switch over, but it was agreed that we have to be better prepared so that when we get there we will have no new problems, given that once in the Eurozone many monetary policy levers are abandoned, levers that we are using and that helps us at this stage. Our 5-percent economic growth, compared with the one or two-percent growth of others, can be explained by the fact that we have moved easily using monetary policy tools. Specialists are arguing that Romania needs a somehow higher real convergence. A minimal convergence of 60 percent is generally acceptable and talks now focus on the idea that Romania has to pass this threshold once inside the Eurozone,’ said Iohannis.
He added that Romania should not get fixated on a deadline for accession to the Eurozone.
‘There is no deadline for us and I believe setting one is no good, given that the European Union is facing innumerable crises that we are not artfully managing, but we are barely managing. No deadline is not a problem. We get prepared in the most natural way, by economic growth, and we will wait and see when discussing a deadline for accession to the Eurozone is opportune,’ said Iohannis.
Romania’s President on Thursday participated in the debate “The European Union between disintegration and reform. Romania’s contribution to consolidating the European construction,” organised at the Faculty of European Studies of the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, by the CITADEL reflection group, coordinated by Assistant Professor Valentin Naumescu, former consul of Romania to Canada.
With all its human resources, military potential the EU is not where it should be
The European Union doesn’t get sufficiently involved in the region’s problems, although it has the necessary human, logistics and military potential, President Klaus Iohannis said in northwestern Cluj-Napoca on Thursday.
He added that no intention exists to set an EU joint army, but resources at EU’s disposal could allow it to get more involved in situations such as that in Syria.
“There is this talk about EU joint defence and I find it very proper, one that should be approached. (…) There is no intention to create a European army; the matter has not even been mentioned, because that would mean that each and every member state relinquishes a piece of its sovereignty and even defence, which is almost the very core of each sovereignty, and relinquish to whom? There is no one, no such entity politically legitimised enough in Europe to lead a European army. From the very first talks on its merits we realise that for the time being we cannot talk about such thing. But, on the other hand, by gathering all that the European states have by way of defence systems, human resources, logistics and armament, it is very much. On the other hand, we don’t use these resources enough. Take a look at Syria. I feel like we are not where we should be,” said Iohannis.
He added that the EU should be a stronger player in the area.
“The EU is the strongest close player to Syria and what we do is taking part in talks. I believe that we should do more than just attend talks; we should become a player who, in the end, has the tools to impose its point of view on matters that are directly affecting us. The last migration flow has occurred because of the war in Syria, [although there]were secondary reasons leading to the size of the wave. It would be good for us to be able to intervene where crisis or conflict situations emerge, with the goal of making peace, instead of deepening conflicts. The talk that surfaced is how we could better use together the resources we’ve got; we don’t want to have an initiative to compete with NATO, on the contrary, we want to have an approach to complete NATO’s, because almost all of us are NATO members,” Iohannis concluded.
Schengen is a technical, not political understanding; Romania – prepared for accession
Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis said on Thursday in Cluj that although some European actors still consider that Romania is not mature to be part of the Union’s core, and even if the talks on Romania’s Schengen accession are dragging, there is still an optimistic note.
Asked in Cluj in a debate on the European Union how he sees Romania’s chances of accessing the Schengen area in the near future, the President pointed out that this topic has been politicised, although Romania has fulfilled all the criteria as early as a few years ago.
“Schengen is a technical, not a political understanding. The Schengen area was created based on a technical, not a political approach. Romania fulfilled ever since 2011 the criteria to become part of the Schengen space. It is just that some believed it is good to turn the discussion into a political one and in the beginning, not admittedly, but later on increasingly more admittedly, the Schengen matter was connected to the CVM matter, although they are different,” Klaus Iohannis said.
The President said that the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) is the second subject that generates quite a lot of discontent in Romania, because Romania’s progress is obvious, measurable and acknowledged by those visiting to follow the progress.
“However the discussion, even at this moment, on phasing out is not a very intense one and there are still some European actors who are under the impression that Romania is not mature for the Union’s core. We believe we are,” Iohannis said.
On the other hand, the President underscored, the fact that Romania is not in the Schengen area has not discouraged the authorities nor did it hurt the institutions.
“Romania acts as a de facto Schengen member, we observe all Schengen procedures, we have understandings with the neighbours and the other states which put us in the position of a de facto member, it is just we are not de facto yet. In the migration matter, certainly, it wasn’t a disadvantage that we weren’t in the Schengen area yet. But I can tell you we would have managed it very well had we have been in Schengen. Therefore I don’t want this to be used as an argument for staying outside the Schengen area,” Klaus Iohannis said.
He added that he has reasons for optimism, particularly after the visit to Romania of French President Francois Hollande, and who understood why it would be good for Romania to be in the Schengen area.
“Not everyone in France is yet convinced and this way the discussions still linger, but on a slightly more optimistic note,” the head of the state mentioned.