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October 22, 2021

Minister-delegate Birchall: Former Gov’t adopting memorandum – not real steps to prepare Presidency of Council of EU

Minister-delegate for European Affairs Ana Birchall says the adoption of a memorandum by the previous Government on 30 December 2016, with some “absolutely theoretical lines, with no practical correspondent and a prior conclusive analysis”, as well as the organization of an event only just as “an exercise of imagine with an electoral whiff and a precise dedication,” doesn’t represent real steps in preparing the most important moment of Romania’s post-accession, namely the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The mention, comes in the context in which former prime Minister Dacian Ciolos and former head of the PM Chancellery Dragos Tudorache claimed that Ana Birchall tries” through untrue public statement” about the former Gov’t, to hide her “own delays and lack of actions” in preparing Romania to take over the Presidency of the Council of the EU.

“In the first four months of this year we boosted the preparation process of Romania taking over the Presidency of the Council of the EU, through concrete and enforced measures, because I believe that this country project is too important and integrator, on all the levels of society, through the decision-making factors who are involved, in order to turn it into a war of unconsumed pride. Precisely because it’s a project of all Romanians, they have the right to a fair informing, and this doesn’t mean that I want to run from the responsibility or that I want to find the culpable people. I have noticed some syncope in terms of preparing this important event for our country and it’s Romanians’ right to know them. The previous governance adopting a memorandum on 30 December 2016, with some absolutely theoretical lines, without any practical correspondent and a prior conclusive analysis, as well as organizing an event only as an exercise of imagine with an electoral whiff and with a precise dedication, doesn’t mean actual steps in preparing the most important post-accession moment of Romania: the Presidency of the Council of the EU,” Ana Birchall wrote in a post on Facebook.

She brings to mind that the current Gov’t adopted, at the proposal of the team she coordinates in the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE), the Memorandum regarding the boost of the preparation process of Romania taking the Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2019 – PRES RO 2019, through which the National Council of Preparing and Exercising Romania’s Presidency at the Council of the EU was established, but also adopted the Action Plan. The council will have a role of strategic guidance by setting out guidelines and priority actions for Romania to prepare and exercise the Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Furthermore, in relation to the Minister-delegate for European Affairs’ portfolio, Birchall says that the Unit for preparing Romania’s Presidency at the Council of the EU (UPP) was established and has three component structures: Planning and Coordinating Negotiations Directorate (DPCN), Logistics and Protocol Directorate (DLP) and Communication and Promotion Bureau (BCP).

“Though this Unit we boosted the interministerial dialogue for preparing to take over the presidency within the weekly meetings of the Coordination Committee of National European Affairs Management System. Within the committee specialized human resources in European affairs were mapped, who are available in the public administration, because we should have by now a clear picture of specialists whom we can rely on, there were presented proposals of priority topics of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU in a first form and also the first calendar of meetings that will be organized by Romania during its tenure was drawn up, also responsibilities of the ministries for chairing the Working Groups of the Council of the EU were established,” the dignitary added.

According to the Minister, the interministerial Task force was activated, a body that prepares legislative proposals having the role to allow temporary supplementation, of the technical expertise in the public administration in the area of European affairs and the first draft of the bills regarding the creation of additional positions, recruitment method, human resources classification and motivation was drawn up.

“On an external plan, we initiated a consultation mechanism with Romania’s partners of the trio of Presidencies (Finland and Croatia), in which Austria was included, taking into account that we will take over from this country a large part of the European legislative agenda. The dialogue with representatives of European institutions was also activated, namely the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU and the European Commission Secretariat-General. We are not familiar with a lot of the services we need on the purchase procedure because there is no inventory of them. For instance, allocating an adequate headquarters of Romania’s Standing Representation with the EU on the PRES RO 2019 period is an important element that could have been solved by now, but, unfortunately nothing was done. Moreover, nothing was done either in terms of identifying a location for the Presidency here, in Bucharest, or halls and possible spaces to carry out meetings of the working groups,” Ana Birchall claims.

In this regard, Birchall stated she ordered for solutions to be analyzed in order to carry out the Representation’s activity in good conditions, from the prospect of preparing and exercising the Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2019 and available spaces were identified on the market as an alternative to the current location that could be rented or purchased.

“It will be a period marked by numerous challenges, that have to be efficiently and pragmatically managed, in the benefit of all European citizens and of the European project in general. In respect to Brexit, for instance, there wasn’t up to the current Gov’t, no impact analysis that would assess Romania’s costs after the UK leaves the EU. No ministry had identified or created, in its organigram, a specialized team on Brexit, that will prepare the future negotiations from Romania’s perspective on different sectors of activity. […] By dosing correctly the efforts, and through an adequate allocation of necessary resources and a good coordination of the MAE, I am convinced that Romania will be prepared to take over the Presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 January 2019,” the Minister stated.

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