The Romanian Government has taken note of the decision by the UK Government to officially activate Article 50 in the Lisbon Treaty that sets off the UK leaving the European Union, Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu said Wednesday, adding that the UK is and will remain an essential partner to Romania and the Romanian Government will get actively involved in protecting the rights and interests of UK’s Romanian nationals.
“I am regretting the fact that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will no longer be our partner inside the European Union’s bodies and institutions. Let us hope that negations will be conducted in a constructive spirit that privilege the long-term interests of both parties, because the need for as close as possible relationships between the European Union and the UK cannot be called into question. Romania’s priority right now is to protect the rights of its nationals in the UK,” Grindeanu is quoted as saying in a press statement.
At the same time, the Romanian Government will also get involved in advancing mechanisms to consolidate cooperation between the EU and the UK after Brexit, as well as to preserve the European budget provisions for the Cohesion Policy and the 2014-2020 Common Agricultural Policy.
Likewise, it will act decidedly for means of cooperation with the UK in the European economic space to be found as part of the negotiations to be started off, as well as means to keep up the UK’s long-term commitment to Europe’s security and to have the rights of European nationals in the UK and of the UK nationals in the EU respected.
“To Romania, the UK is an essential partner and that is how it will stay. Our countries are engaged in a strategic partnership that is seen as recognition of their special ties and shared vision over many international issues. We want to deepen the partnership, both its security and defence components, and the development of economic cooperation and enhanced British cultural presence in Romania,” said Grindeanu.
Another main priority with the Romanian Government is representing and protecting the interests of the Romanian nationals in the UK. Grindeanu has asked Minister for Romanians Abroad Andreea Pastirnac to go on a UK tour early this April to discuss with the Romanian communities and British officials.
Part of her official tour, Pastirnac will reiterate Romania’s readiness to cooperate with the UK and European institutions to solve problems facing UK’s Romanians.
“We are preoccupied with the protection of the rights and interests of the Romanian nationals who are living, working or studying on the UK soil. I will underscore the fact that securing equal and fair treatment for the Romanian nationals against the nationals of other EU member states is necessary,” said Pastirnac.
In the context of Brexit, an inter-ministerial mechanism was set up at the Romanian Government designed to provide the fundamentals for a general mandate as well as sectorial mandates for Romania and to follow closely the negotiations over the UK pulling out of the EU, reads the statement.
The mechanism includes an inter-ministerial board on Brexit that will provide political guidelines to define Romania’s stances, general and sectorial mandates, which will be submitted to the Government for approval. The board will be chaired by the prime minister and coordinated by the minister-delegate for European affairs. Membership includes several other ministries.
A steering board will be added to follow the EU-UK negations, as well as a European affairs coordination committee to provide constant information to all ministries and a necessary framework for occasional debates, and inter-ministerial technical working groups. The first three working groups are tasked with founding Romania’s stance on the following negotiating areas: free movement of persons; implications regarding the EU budget; external and security affairs.
The statement says the inter-ministerial mechanism was approved under a memorandum passed by the Government on March 22, given that Romania’s dialogue with ether European Commission so far as well as the example of other states have revealed the importance of setting up a national coordination body to deal with Brexit.
The decision has also something to do with the finalisation of Brexit on schedule overlapping Romania’s holding the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union – H1 2019 – which enhances Romania’s part in the negations over the agreement on UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
“The European Union needs a new lease of life, reforms that will allow it to meet the current challenges, guarantee economic development, provide more cohesion and bridge the gaps among the member states, which will thus increase its legitimacy in the eyes of its own citizens. The EU cannot go forward without support from its own citizens. We, ourselves, need internally the support of all the citizens for efficient support for Romania’s interests in the European design. I believe there is no alternative to this path,” Grindeanu concluded.