Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis is attending, March 9-10, a summit of the European Council in Brussels.
He told journalists on Thursday at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace that the main items on the summit’s agenda are employment, economic growth and competitiveness, migration, institutional aspects and EU’s foreign affairs.
“Emphasis at today’s meeting will be placed on finding solutions that will generate sustainable economic growth at the EU level, that will lead to improved living standards for all European citizens. Trade policy, external security, defence, migration, EU’s foreign affairs, with emphasis on the latest developments in the Western Balkans, are other items on the agenda of the European summit,” said Iohannis.
He added that he will give a press conference at the end of the meeting.
“Romania wants strong, united European Union”
President Klaus Iohannis said Thursday that Romania wants a European Union that is united and strong, adding that this is the stand he and all the other participants in the debate and diplomatic process regarding the future of the EU will embrace.
“Our stand is well known. We have had the same stand since the very beginning. I have reiterated it any time the matter showed up. Romania believes in a strong and united EU and we have to achieve such consolidation together, all the 27 members, and I have said that loud and clear. That is why we have not agreed on alternatives such as a multi-speed Europe, a two-speed Europe or a Europe of concentric circles. What we want is a strong and united Europe. That was and will continue to be presented as Romania’s stand by me and also by all the other participants in the debate and diplomatic process,” Iohannis said. He added that on Friday an informal session of the European Council summit will be held without the UK in the attendance, to discuss the future of the EU ahead of a March 25 anniversary European summit in Rome.
“This theme of the EU’s future has generated a natural interest with the public opinion in Romania and other countries, because the proposal under consideration does not concern the future of the EU only, but also the future of Romania,” said Iohannis.
He mentioned that as far as the future of the EU is concerned, the debates started from a white paper that provides details of five scenarios unveiled by President of the European Commission Jean Claude-Juncker.
“We have not reached the decision-making stage, and we cannot be sure that we will choose any of this five scenarios. That is the way in which the president of the commission saw the options, but it is likely that as discussions advance – and I can assure you there will be many discussions not only in Romania but also in Brussels – another scenario may emerge as more adequate, more convenient and more feasible,” said Iohannis.
The President showed that the first conclusions of the debates, to formally start in Rome, will be probably agreed upon at the European summit this December, when also established will be the next actions up to H1 2019, when the process should end.
“Consolidating the European Union can only happen if cohesion among member states is strengthened instead of weakened. It is very true that even now we can notice that everybody is not moving at the same speed. So, the fact that there is a multi-speed Europe is easy observation; this is how things are happening now, but that does not mean we want that to happen in the future as well. We should not be confused by the observation that the EU member states are moving at different speeds now and the objective we want to achieve, and I imagine we will not have an objective to be achieved in two or three years’ time; that would be a very short term, but we must think about what will come in 10 or 50 years and then to build our conception that will lead us to a strong Union, instead of to a weak Union,” added Iohannis.
He went on to say that the countries wanting to join the Eurozone and the Schengen area will have to improve their action.
“There is already word in the public discussion that the countries that can more should do more. There are currently files on which work is thus conducted. Two examples would be easy to find: the Eurozone and the Schengen Area. Well, these two files are open on everybody, and that is how it has to be, so that those who are not there yet may work more intently so that in the end they will get there. What is important for us is we should not write off options started by some that all can reach. It is important for us not to develop exclusivist projects. It would be counterproductive for the European Union to accept projects that are accessible to some members and inaccessible to others. In fact, that would mean a two-speed Europe, which we do not want. We realise that we have such projects right now, but they should be intermediary stages, transitional stages, exceptions, and not at all the rule,” said Iohannis.
The Presidential Administration says in a press statement that in Brussels, Iohannis will underscore that Romania is supporting the preservation and further development of a strong European industrial sector as well as securing an environment of fair competition and adequate protection for European producers.
As far as the trade policy goes, Iohannis will hail at the Brussels summit the European Parliament having recently approved the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.
“The importance of this agreement to Romania is very high because it is directly linked to the visa requirement being lifted for all Romanian nationals travelling to Canada, as pledged by Canada,” the statement says.
Iohannis will also advocate advanced cooperation in the areas of external security and defence, given that there is an important potential for the consolidation of European defence and that can be thoroughly done by securing complementarity with NATO actions.
In relation to migration, Iohannis will voice support for the measures agreed upon at the Malta European summit, while reiterating the need for a balanced approach as well as the idea the European Union should continue its actions designed to find sustainable solutions to the root causes of migration.
Iohannis will also reassert Romania’s support for the EU’s enlargement policy, arguing that the process will have a positive effect politically, socially and institutionally speaking.