MEP Siegfried Muresan (EPP), chief negotiator of the European Parliament for the 2018 EU Budget, stated on Wednesday, in Strasbourg, against the backdrop of the debates on the future of the European Union, that the idea of a multi-speed Europe is not completely wrong and Romania should negotiate the proposals made by European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, suggesting that our country should condition its acceptance of this scenario on the acceptance of its bid to join the Schengen Area.
“We are at the start of a process of reflection and public consultation. EC President Jean-Claude Juncker is saying the following thing: in its current form, the European Union does not fully correspond to its citizens’ expectations, it cannot do what people are expecting from Europe. That is why the EU must be improved, must be reformed, it’s a natural process… The ideal scenario would be for all 27 member states – that will remain after United Kingdom’s exit – taking these integration steps. But we see that the appetite for integration differs from state to state,” Muresan said.
He explained that Romania “fears it will be left outside” this new project and that is why it opposes the idea of a multi-speed Europe, however our country’s representatives should negotiate these things with the EU.
“We are afraid we will be left outside, that is why the first thing I’d say if I were the representative of the Presidency or of the Government in these negotiations would be: the top priority is for each member state to be able to take part in all the future steps of European integration, for there to be no criteria or conditions that, if not met, would see us excluded from future integration steps. We and we alone should decide our participation in future integration steps,” he explained.
Muresan added that “rightfully so, to us it looks like the two-speed Europe would exclude us,” because “the successful projects in which the two-speed Europe so far works – Schengen Area and Euro Area –, we are not yet participating in these projects.”
Thus, the MEP emphasised that “the essential element that would lower the Romanian citizens’ fears toward the two-speed Europe would be accession in the Schengen Area, where we know we are meeting the conditions and deserve to be accepted.”
“If I were President, minister, I’d include ‘accept me in the Schengen Area because I’m meeting the conditions’ and then Romanians will fear the two-speed Europe less,” he claimed.
The MEP warned that, once this public consultation on the future of Europe is launched, “the worst thing Romania could do is say: no, no, we’re not taking part in the talks.” “We must be a party to the talks, we must raise our conditions,” he emphasised.
“It’s the start of a process of public consultation – the EC President said no decision will be taken until December; rightfully so, because there will be parliamentary elections in Germany in September, presidential elections in France in May – so we must express ourselves. And my opinion is that important decisions won’t be taken in December either, it will be an intermediary moment, we have time, we must express ourselves,” Muresan insisted.
The Romanian MEP also underscored that “it’s the first time when a fundamental debate on the future of the European Union is taking place and we’re not there when the rules are being defined.”
“In the past, when we showed up at the table the rules had already been pre-defined and we had to accept them. Now we’re not there when the rules are being defined. We must state our point of view,” he pointed out.
Photo credit: © European Union 2017