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60 years later, EU leaders renew their European commitment in Rome. Klaus Iohannis after EU’s anniversary summit in Rome: The two-speed or multi-speed Europe term has disappeared

EU leaders renewed their European commitment on Saturday, in Rome, in a solemn declaration 60 years after the signing of the Union’s founding treaty.

In the ovations of those present, the 27 heads of state and government as well as the leaders of the European institutions signed the “Declaration of Rome,” in the same Sala degli Orazi e Curiazi of the Palazzo dei Conservatori in the Capitolium Square where the historic treaty was signed on 25 March 1957.

EU leaders commit to making the European Union “stronger and more resilient” through “even greater unity and solidarity” among member states.

“Standing together is the best way to defend our common interests and values,” The 27 emphasised.

Among others, European leaders have established a vision for the EU in which member states can choose to cooperate more closely on certain aspects, allowing country groupings to use multiple speeds while moving in the direction of integration, DPA points out.

“We will act together, at different paces and intensity where necessary,” the European leaders state, adding that EU members will continue to adhere to the treaties and to be able to join efforts for closer cooperation later.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker signed the “Declaration of Rome” with the original pen that the representative of Luxembourg used 60 years ago.

“There are long-lasting signatures,” Juncker stated, receiving long ovations.

Before the signing, European Council President Donald Tusk asked The 27 “to prove today that they are the leaders of Europe.”

“After Rome, the Union must be more than it was before, a Union of the same principles, a Union with external sovereignty, a Union of political unity,” Tusk pleaded at a time when the United Kingdom is getting ready to divorce its partners.

Poland, which had threatened not to sign the Declaration of Rome because of the disagreement over the concept of “multi-speed” Europe, eventually approved the document without amendments, France Presse informs.

The ceremony ended with European leaders posing for a great group photo in the Piazza del Camidoglio designed by Michelangelo.

 

Klaus Iohannis after EU’s anniversary summit in Rome: The two-speed or multi-speed Europe term has disappeared

 

President Klaus Iohannis stated on Saturday that the Declaration of Rome was adopted at the EU’s anniversary summit and the “two-speed or multi-speed Europe” term disappeared, since no European leader wants backsteps made, but only “a stronger Union that better handles crises.”

“We are proud with what we’ve accomplished so far but, at the same time, we need to renew the commitment to continue the development of our unique project. Ensuring the peace, security and prosperity of all European citizens depends on it. On this anniversary summit, we’ve adopted the Declaration of Rome, a political document meant to define a joint vision on the direction of continuing the European project for the next decade and to contribute to regaining the citizens’ confidence in their own project, the European project,” the Romanian President said at a press conference in Rome.

The President also stated that “after 60 years, the vision of the European project’s founding fathers, written in the preamble of the initial Treaty of Rome, that of creating an ever-closer Union between the people of Europe, remains relevant and is included in the Declaration adopted today.”

“Maintaining the unity of the 27 member states is and must remain our motto. The text of the Declaration is positive and balanced, in line with the position that Romania promoted in what regards the future of Europe. The preoccupations regarding consolidated cooperation, which Romania expressed during the negotiations, were included. Also included was a supplementary mention of cohesion in what concerns a prosperous and sustainable Europe,” Klaus Iohannis added.

He also stated that “the maintenance in the final text of the Declaration of Rome of the concept of consolidated cooperation is strictly made within the limits of the provisions of the current treaty of the Union, the objective being for all states to act jointly.”

“Moreover, the text of the Declaration mentions that the door remains open for member states that want to later join these forms of consolidated cooperation. Certainly, we don’t want to take backsteps from what we have accomplished so far. It’s important for the Union to permanently evolve in the sense of consolidating those policies that ensure the Union’s foundation and efficiency,” the President added.

The Head of State emphasised that “Romania’s major objective is for a united and cohesive Union in its internal and external actions, a Union that has the capacity to play a key role at global level.”

“It’s our mission, the mission of heads of state and of political leaders, to demonstrate that we have the vision to take our project forward and to regain once again confidence in the future of a united Europe. This is the main way in which we can counter the Eurosceptic, xenophobic and radical tendencies. I have the conviction we can overcome this period of uncertainty by understanding the clear message of cohesion that was given today too,” Iohannis added.

The President stated that the “two-speed or multi-speed Europe” term has disappeared.

“We successfully opposed [it], because you’ve all noticed, even in the leaders’ speeches, that the two-speed or multi-speed Europe or the Europe of concentric circles term has simply disappeared. It was proven to be, from time to time, the kind of project not everyone wants to enter from the start. Let me give you two examples: the Euro Area. Not everyone is in the Euro Area, but that doesn’t mean Europe is working with two monetary speeds. (…) Another project is the one we too, Romania, co-initiated, the project of a European prosecutor. And here, for the time being, 19 of the 27 member states have expressed their immediate interest. We have a project that 19 member states are entering from the start, others keep assessing it and, if they want to, they will always have the door open to join this project,” he stated.

The President said that EU leaders understood “fairly well” that one cannot stake on a multi-speed Europe idea because backsteps would be taken.

“I believe it’s been very well understood that one cannot stake on the idea of a multi-speed Europe. It simply is not possible. We would go back in time and absolutely no Union member wants us to take backsteps, we want to take steps forward. Everyone wants a stronger Union, a Union that better handles crises and that responds to the European citizens’ demands,” Klaus Iohannis concluded.

 

“I’ll invite Romanian politicians to multiple talks; I want to understand how they see Europe’s future”

 

The Romanian President also announced that after the EU’s anniversary summit he will invite the Romanian political leaders to “multiple talks,” in order to understand how the Romanian political world sees the future of Europe. The Head of State emphasised that Romania must respect what it has convened with external partners, namely not to have an excessive budget deficit.

“I’ve said it, I believe last week. After this festivity in Rome ends, I’ll invite the politicians back home and I will challenge them to talks in multiple formats, to see how our political world sees the future of Europe. And I intend to do this. We’ll see if it happens in Snagov or Bucharest or somewhere else. But yes, I plan to take part in formats and to encourage formats of talks, to have a positive energy in this overture, after all. It’s clear we want to play a positive role,” the Head of State said when asked what Romania’s contribution to the process moving forward can be, including in what concerns the security area or even that of the Union’s external borders.

The President added that Romania must respect what it agreed with external partners, namely not to have an excessive budget deficit.

“You’ve asked me what we can concretely do. (…) This means doing our job. This means, of course, doing our job at home too. First of all, to respect what we all agreed, namely not to have an excessive budget deficit. It’s a very, very concrete thing that we can do. However, Romania can do much more than that. We had and we still have, to a certain extent, what was dubbed the “migration crisis.” Romania handled it very well and I believe everyone agrees with me, because we knew how to protect our borders. We’re not in Schengen, we’re acting as a de facto Schengen member and we’ve shown how a European country can protect its borders very well. Maybe we manage to persuade others too, to use similar approaches, because one of the main preoccupations for all Europeans is the security of external borders,” Klaus Iohannis added.

The Head of State said that the earmarking of 2 percent of GDP for defence is not just a political promise, and Romania will contribute to the enhancement of security in Europe.

“In the field of defence, we don’t want to build something parallel to NATO, but I believe our example, with 2 percent for procurement, for defence, is not just a political promise or an example, it’s a fact with which we will concretely contribute to the enhancement of security in Europe and many other things of this type. People should not imagine that great European philosophies are expected of us, and then for us to persuade everyone. Just like in a family, it works best if everyone does his/her duty without talking more than necessary, but working more than needed,” the President concluded.

 

“We don’t want to leave the Romanians living in the UK suspended in the air, with uncertain status”

 

At the same time, during the press conference held after the anniversary ceremonies in Rome, President Iohannis added that the Romanian state does not want to leave the Romanian citizens living in the UK “suspended somewhere, with an uncertain status,” assuring them, at the same time, that this is not just “a formula of politeness” but a “very serious” preoccupation.

“I’ve said it from the start that, in case of Brexit, the most important topic for us are the Romanians living there. We’re not alone. Poland has 800,000 citizens there and there are others, there are others. You should know that the United Kingdom also has a very strong preoccupation with its citizens who are living in other states. A fairly high number of them are living in Romania, for instance. Basically, there are British citizens in all European states. So then, this topic will surely be in the attention of all and we will take care to negotiate along with the other member states, so that the issue of European Union citizens living in the United Kingdom would be properly solved,” the President said when asked how the Romanian state is helping the Romanian citizens living in the United Kingdom.

The Head of State pointed out that the Romanian state does not want to leave the Romanian citizens “suspended somewhere, with an uncertain status.”

“I’ve taken this commitment. We have a new Government and this new Government has understood and has undertaken this same commitment. In this sense, I’ve discussed with all the partners I had the chance to discuss with, with Prime Minister May too, you know we recently had a phone conversation, I reiterated this topic. But also on the European side, I discussed these topics at length with the Union’s negotiator. I can assure the Romanians living in the United Kingdom that it’s not just a formula of politeness; how they will be positioned there is a very, very serious preoccupation for us,” Klaus Iohannis concluded.

“With the absorption rate we now have, we won’t be in pole position, we will have a poor hand; I’ll talk with PM”

President Klaus Iohannis also stated that the time when the next EU budget is to be discussed is approaching, and Romania, with the European grants absorption rate it is currently registering, will not be “in pole position” and will instead have “a very poor hand to play.” The Head of State said he plans to discuss these issues with the Grindeanu Government.

“The period when the next budget is to be negotiated is fast approaching. With the absorption rate we currently have, I fear we won’t be in pole position, as the saying goes, namely we will have a poor hand to play. I intend to discuss these issues with the Government, in the upcoming weeks. I didn’t want to be in a significant hurry, because at first the Government busied itself with entirely different things, you recall, Ordinance 13, [Ordinance] 14, so on and so forth. Then, they gradually started to work on something and yes, I intend to invite the Prime Minister, accompanied by whomever he wants, for a talk on the absorption of European grants,” the President stated at the press conference in Rome.

He emphasised that if we want to matter in 2019, when we will hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU, “we must do our homework better” in this field.

 

Government hails adoption of Declaration of Rome

 

The Government hails the adoption of the Declaration of Rome, on the occasion of marking the 60th anniversary of the European Union (EU) founding Treaty.

“Romania’s Government hails the adoption, on this day, in Rome, of the Declaration which renews the commitment of the 27 member states regarding the European unity and cohesion objective, the fundamental values and freedoms which are the basis of the community construction,” a release of the Gov’t reveals.

Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu stated that the Declaration, signed on Saturday, exactly in the hall in which 60 years ago the historical treaty that founded the European Union was signed, is possible only because member states remained united and found common solutions to mutual issues.

In his opinion, this is the path which ensured, all this time, the success of the European project.

“This is why, the Union remains the framework in which Romania, alongside other member states and community institutions, will act in order to defend our mutual interests and priorities. We will contribute, as a member state, as well as a county which will hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2019, to further integrate and deepen the cooperation between member states, to maintain peace, democracy, stability and security in Europe,” Grindeanu mentioned.

The Gov’t expresses the confidence that, within the reflection process regarding the future of the EU, which is to be carried out in the upcoming period, the 27 member states will have in mind, just as the Declaration of Rome reads, the protection of all the achievements accomplished so far – integrity of the internal market, European freedoms and values, including free movement of people and workers, cohesion policy, Eurozone or strengthening the Union actions in the vicinity, in east, as well as in south.

“We have to continue, without divisions or fragmentations within the EU, these policies for the citizens’ benefit, which represents the “hallmark” of the European integration model. Romania remains fully engaged to work in order to enforce the directions of action convened by the Agenda of Rome, in terms of consolidating the Union. Ten years after the accession, Romania has the capacity and resources to bring a substantial contribution in this process,” the release points out.

 

Minister-delegate Birchall: Rome Declaration, new stage that defines European design for years ahead

 

Romania’s Minister-delegate for European Affairs Ana Birchall said Saturday that the Rome Declaration signed on the 60th anniversary of the treaties establishing the European Community, the predecessor of today’s European Union, is a new stage that will define the European design for the years ahead, Romania’s Foreign Ministry (MAE) says in a press statement.

Birchall underscored that Romania is a supporter of a consolidated European Union based on unity and respect for its fundamental principles and values, which is the only formula that can adequately meet the current challenges.

“We are especially glad that the document passed by the European leaders is positive and balanced and seconded by all the member states and European institutions at the same time. From this perspective, the importance that the member states, Romania included, attaches to the European Union’s unity and indivisibility is welcome and it is clearly reflected, as Romania has constantly advocated, in the Rome Declaration. That is why it is worth noticing that the declaration enshrines the European Union remaining the place where the member states act together to defend their common interests and actions, advancing in the same direction, in line with the treaties. We rightfully believe that in order to advance the European design, all members of the union working together without divisions and fragmentations should continue to be the rule of our action ,” Birchall is quoted as saying in eth MAE statement.

She added that the member states have pledged to continue their European integration based on more unity and cohesion, solidarity and strong values.

“Romania is fully engaged to continue as a member state and as future chairman of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2019, to the development of this unique design of peace, democracy, stability and security in Europe.”

“In a globalised world facing unprecedented challenges and of various natures, a stronger, better integrated union clearly provides better prospects for all of us than a divided union. It is all the more important the fact that the right signal was sent today, the signal that the European Union wants and can resume unity and cohesion. Romania is the supporter of a consolidated Europe grounded in unity and respect to its fundamental values and principles, the only formula able to meet the current challenges,” added Birchall.

She went on to say that the idea of a multi-speed Europe cannot be a solution to the extent that the unity and indivisibility of the European Union is being sought, which Romania believes to be essential to the future of the European Union.

“Romania has successfully advocated the reflection of this essential principle of unity in the final version of the declaration, which enshrines the ideas of unity of the European continent, communication of values, common action and overcoming old divisions while avoiding creating new ones. Establishing more or less formal clubs, sanctioning different speeds or concentric circles risk deepening the exiting economic and social gaps among the member states,” said Birchall.

She hailed EU’s openness to further enlargement, as the declaration signed by the European leaders mentions the benefits of an enlarged Europe that allowed overcoming divisions on the European continent as well as a union that keeps its doors open to those European countries that respect and advance our values.

 

 

 

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