Romania’s Minister-delegate for European Affairs Ana Birchall on Thursday in Berlin met Uwe Corsepius, adviser to Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the need for continuing European integration and its successful policies and projects, Romania’s Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) reports in a press statement.
According to MAE, “the visit happened in a difficult European context marked by intense talks over the reform of the European Union, Brexit, social and economic issues at EU’s levels, as well as crises in the immediate vicinity of the European Union.”
The meeting was also an opportunity for an exchange of substantive opinions on these European current affairs on the EU’s agenda, including by assessing them against the results of the March 9-10 European summit, says MAE.
The meeting of the two officials also occurred ahead of a March 25 anniversary summit meeting that celebrates the 60th anniversary of the founding treaties of the European Union, with them also discussing the future of the European design.
“In order for the European design to succeed, we have to display solidarity, overcome short-term visions and avoid falling prey to populist tendencies,” Birchall is quoted as saying.
“The Rome Declaration will have to give a clear signal that the EU member states are staying united and determined to build a strong, inclusive Europe based on a shared vision of the future and shared values so that it may be able to win back the trust of European citizens. As far as Romania is concerned, inclusiveness and openness of any debate or cooperation are essential to the smooth running of the European design,” added Birchall.
Talks between Birchall and Corsepius also focused on Romanian-German cooperation and means to deepen it as part of the reflection on the reform of the European design; they included topics of shared interest in EU affairs, including from the perspective of Romania holding the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2019.
“Roman-German cooperation has a strategic significance at an economic as well as political level, given that Germany is Romania’s main foreign trade partner. The year 2017 is a special milestone in our relationships, because we are celebrating 50 years of diplomatic ties between Romania and Germany and 25 years since the signing of a bilateral cooperation agreement between Romania and the Federal Republic of Germany,” Birchall is quoted as having said at her meeting with the adviser on European affairs to Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.
At the same time, she underscored the fact that Romania is sticking to its position on the need for continuing European integration and its successful policies and projects, particularly the internal market, the border-free Schengen Area and the Eurozone, while advocating as essential the EU preserving an integrative approach and avoiding splitting up along regional lines.
Birchall also mentioned the importance the cohesion policy and the common agricultural policy should keep in the post-2020 multiannual financial framework.
About a two- or multi-speed Europe, Birchall unveiled Romania’s position, underscoring the risks any formalisation of the concept will pose to the future of the EU overall.
“Part of the conversation on the latest developments in the European design, I told the German official that inclusiveness and openness of any debate or cooperation format are essential as far as Romania is concerned. It is important for the European project to continue the contribution toward bridging, instead of deepening, the development gaps among the member states,” added Birchall.
In his turn, Corsepius voiced Germany’s support for Romania preparing its presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2019, along with openness toward dialogue on important items on the European agenda being continued and deepened.
The two officials agreed on keeping a direct channel for consultations at this level, says MAE.