DIPLOMACY

President Iohannis on Brexit: We are determined to negotiate so that citizens have full rights

President Klaus Iohannis stated on Saturday that the European Council established that the fate of people will be first negotiated, followed by the financial aspects of the Brexit.

“The first point that will be negotiated regarding the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU is the fate of the people. In our case, the burden is placed on the fate of the Romanians that work and live in the United Kingdom. For us it is very important that this negotiation be made in the most serious terms, quickly and be done so it covers all aspects, not only residence, employment, right to work, but also things such as pensions, because in Europe there are millions of people who counted on the fact that they can establish residence and find work everywhere in the Union, many of them moved with their families, and these things must be respected,” the head of state stated.

He showed that the member-states are disposed to negotiate so that European citizens benefit from full rights after the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU.

“I can offer Romanians the entire guarantees that the EU 27 offers and there are plenty of them. We are determined to negotiate so that citizens, Romanians included, have all rights. On the other side we are willing to negotiate the rights of British citizens in the member-states,” Iohannis said.

The head of state mentioned that after the fate of European citizens will be negotiated, the financial side will be discussed.

“Many people spoke of the bill for the United Kingdom. There is no bill, no fine that the United Kingdom will have to pay, but it is about financial commitments that were made before the start of Brexit and everyone expects the United Kingdom to respect those commitments. That is the money we speak of, caught in the budget and which, for example, for Romania are reflected in the money spent on cohesion projects, on agricultural policy, etc.”, Iohannis added.

He also announced that the European Council reunion saw the proposal to split Brexit into stages.

“At the beginning the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU part will be negotiated and only after significant progress is made in these negotiations, will we move on to part two, which may establish largely how we imagine a future collaboration between the Union and the United Kingdom after the Brexit that will take place effectively at the start of 2019,” Iohannis showed.

The head of state indicated that it was decided in Brussels that no separate negotiations be held regarding Brexit.

“It is important to know that we do not intend, none from the 27 states, to have separate negotiations. The Union is important and we will negotiate only together, we will not negotiate separately or on sectors, all will be negotiated by the team we establish. (…) We are not disposed to any compromise. We have decided to negotiate thus. We want to remain good partners with the United Kingdom, we want to build a relationship as good as possible, yet this Brexit situation did not occur because of an understanding. It is a unilateral decision of the United Kingdom,” Iohannis also showed.

President Iohannis emphasized that the Government has the main role in the technical matters of Brexit.

“Everybody must play their part very, very well in order to have success”, the head of state added.

He mentioned that in regards to hosting European agencies, the European Council decided that in June the selection criteria of states will be established, and a decision will be made no earlier than fall.

“The Romanian Government will have to, with maximum celerity, if it desires this agency (e.n. – European Medicines Agency), to identify a headquarters that can be made available not at one point, but now, this fall, for this agency. This is the first step. The second is to be open to negotiations for the conditions that we offer to these people, because there are special conditions, both living, and financial, and many other things and then we can ease ourselves into a competition. There will be political criteria, but the hard logistical criteria are clear at this moment and if we cannot offer something like that, I’m afraid our chances will be very slim.” the head of state said.

“For me, most important is to discuss about people, people are the most important matter. This means for us concretely the Romanians that live in the United Kingdom, but we can include Britons that live in Romania, but which are relatively fewer, and if we extrapolate at the level of the Union, then we are speaking here of the European citizens that live, work in the United Kingdom. These matters must be solved first. These people need to know what to expect, there are millions of people that have guided themselves by free circulation, established residence, sought and found jobs and we must take that into account these matters, including by going as far as pensions and negotiate these matters,” the head of state said before the European Council meeting.

He claimed that after discussions on this matter, the subject of money must also be discussed.

“We must very clearly establish the financial obligations that result from Brexit, how they can be calculated, how they can be resolved, because everyone has European projects ongoing, and for Romania these are extremely important, it’s money for cohesion, for agriculture, and others, and we need to know what money we can count on and what money we are entitled to,” Iohannis added.

The head of state mentioned he will also insist on a multi-stage approach for Brexit.

“We cannot have from the very beginning negotiations for the exit and for the situation afterwards. The relation between the EU and the United Kingdom cannot be simultaneously negotiated with the orderly exit, (…) I do not agree to sectorial and bilateral negotiations. EU 27 must be united, to negotiate in a single voice and the result cannot be fragmented. (…) All for one, one for all and nothing is final until everything is agreed upon,” the head of state explained.

Iohannis also stated that Romania has the ambition of becoming a country in the EU nucleus.

“We are not treated as a second rate country, but we surely have a lot to work on until saying that we have reached the nucleus of the Union, however we have this ambition and I believe we have all the chances to get there”, he showed.

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