The accession to the Eurozone is one of Romania’s strategic objectives, however we need to set a clear calendar on this topic among the factors in charge, namely the Government and Parliament, President Klaus Iohannis said Monday.
“I have an assessment both political and somewhat technical. (…) It is an important strategic objective of Romania to join the Eurozone. From a technical stand, Romania has met, for a while, the Maastricht criteria, and this way, we could start the construction of an accession calendar; however things aren’t very clear among the factors that must set this calendar which must also be seen through, namely the Government and the BNR [the National Bank of Romania]. It will probably last a little until this new Government understands its role in the state architecture and starts evaluating these things,” Klaus Iohannis told an interview to Calea Europeana online media platform.
The head of state also underscored that the specialists’ opinions aren’t identical on this matter either.
He also said that in this matter other elements besides technical criteria must be taken into account, calling for a fast establishment of stage goals.
“ First EU27 negotiation topic with UK regards citizens”
In the same interview, Iohannis underlined that the first negotiation topic with the UK, in the Brexit context, is that regarding citizens and their rights, adding that he would get strongly involved in this process to make sure that the rights of Romanians living in the UK are respected.
He underscored that the discussions on this topic will be carried out by the EU27 in one single, unitary voice, in a team format.
“The Romanians who have settled in the UK or chosen to live in the UK are, of course, caught in the middle; they are somehow the victims of these discussions and aren’t the only ones. The existence of the single market with the four freedoms has led to millions of Europeans moving, finding a job in another country, starting from the premise that these liberties are well-defined, remain valid and, probably, nothing will change during their lifetime. However, for the UK, through the referendum held there, things have changed. Now, we cannot start negotiations or have approaches making victims out of these people who are not to blame. On the other hand, when it comes to our Romanians, I feel obligated to get very strongly involved in these discussions to have the guarantee that the rights of Romanians there are respected,” Iohannis told Calea Europeana online media platform in an interview on Monday.
Iohannis also underscored that the negotiations with the UK will be carried out in a team format and not on a bilateral level.
The only country opposing Romania’s entering the Schengen Area is Romania itself
In President Iohannis’s view, the only country opposing Romania’s entering the Schengen Area is Romania itself because of “unfortunate” lawmaking entailing emergency ordinances and generally speaking “because of an unfortunate way in which Romanians show they do not know exactly what they want.”
“Do you want to hear something surprising? The only country really opposing Romania’s accession is Romania itself because of an unfortunate lawmaking process that entails unfortunate ruling by emergency ordinances and generally, because of an unfortunate way in which Romanians show they do not know exactly what they want. And I mean here emergency ordinance OUG 13, the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), where the main subject, the judiciary, has done its job well. In the other camp, of Parliament and politicians, there are still issues to be settled. And approaches the likes of Ordinance 13, even if they have not disappeared, show to many European politicians that things in Romania are not stable yet as far as the approach of the rule of law is concerned. And the approaches of some quite visible politicians, holding high offices in the government who are scolding Brussels or the EU for various approaches do us no good at all. On the contrary, they confirm that Romania has quite many politicians who have not understood quite will what the rule of law means and what the fundamental values of the European Union are,” Iohannis told Calea Europeana media website in an interview on Monday, in response to what countries are still opposing Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area and what else should Romania do to enter the Schengen Area.
He added that Romania still has politicians with negative nationalistic leanings.
“They believe that quote the European Union should have no business interfering with our domestic affairs, end of quote. If they would not, why are we members there? (…) Such approaches misunderstood by Romanian politicians, not by everybody, are indeed lengthening this discussion,” said Iohannis.
He added that nobody opposes Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area on technical grounds.
Asked if he can still see the CVM being lifted in 2019 and if Romania will still need the CVM, Iohannis said, “Romania might continue along what is technically called phasing out, that is reaching for the end of the CVM.”
“Right these days, there are visiting assessors checking the progress under CVM, but talks returns to precisely the matters I mentioned above,” said Iohannis.
“I would like Romania to do a good job at presidency of EU Council in 2019”
The head of the state, Klaus Iohannis, would like Romania to do “a good job” at the presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2019, assuring that he will personally get involved wherever needed for a successful mandate of the country.
According to Iohannis, insofar as all the institutions in charge – President, Government, Parliament – will fulfill their incumbent tasks, Romania’s presidency at the EU Council in 2019 will not only be a “bureaucratic success,” but an opportunity to define priorities for our country and demonstrate that we have “good ideas” for the entire European Union.
“For me, it will not be complicated, nor simple. The European Union is a project that I have been very much involved in, from the very beginning. I am attached to the European Union, I have said it and I think everyone knows it, I hope there is no surprise. I want Romania to do a good job there. Personally, I will get involved wherever I can and where it is needed from me in order to achieve that, so as to have a good presidency,” stated Klaus Iohannis, on Monday, in an interview for the “European Way” platform.
The country’s president added that, on the subject of this mandate at the EU Council, “the Government has slowly come to the realization that more than just political statements are needed in order to prepare ourselves.”
“Our representation in Brussels is also preparing for this presidency. We have lately noticed that even Parliament is at least declaratively prepared to support the preparations for the 2019 presidency. So, if we all do our part, not not just the President but also the Government and Parliament, we can turn this presidency not only into a bureaucratic success but also into an opportunity for Romania. It would be the first time we can set the agenda for certain areas when we can define certain priorities of Romania and show that we not only want to be in the European Union, but also to show that we know what we want for Romania and that we have good ideas, including for the entire European Union,” Klaus Iohannis underscored.