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Estonian PM Juri Ratas pays official visit to Romania. Bucharest, Tallinn have similar visions regarding EU’s future

PM Grindeanu: We agreed to enhance coordination between our countries from the perspective of the Romanian Presidency of the European Union Council 

 

Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu stated on Wednesday, at the end of the meeting with his Estonian counterpart, Juri Ratas, on an official visit to our country, that Romania and Estonia have similar visions and uphold the importance of consensus and inclusiveness in the thinking process related to the European Union’s future.

In the context of Estonia’s takeover of the presidency of the EU Council in the second half of this year, the head of the Bucharest Executive expressed Romania’s support “for the ambitious agenda of the Estonian presidency.”

“We agreed to enhance coordination between our countries from the perspective of the Romanian Presidency (the European Union Council – ed.n.) in the first semester of 2019. I presented to my Estonian counterpart the preparations that we are undertaking for the 2019 Presidency. In this context, I would like to reiterate the Government’s determination to have a successful, efficient presidency that will allow the advancement of important European files. We have also discussed today about the future of the EU. I can tell you that I am pleased to find that Romania and Estonia have similar views, that fellowship and the inclusiveness in the reflection process of the EU future are of major importance to us. The result of European debates must be to the benefit of all Member States, without any fragmentation,” affirmed Sorin Grindeanu at the joint press conference held at Victoria Palace next to the Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas.

The Romanian Prime Minister added that during the talks he expressed his support for “the added value of the European Policies: the Cohesion Policy and the Agricultural Policy”.

Another topic was Brexit, the head of the Bucharest Executive stating that Romania supports the unity of the European Union in future negotiations on the basis of what has already been agreed by the Member States. “The rights of Romanians living, working or studying in the UK are a matter of major concern to us. One of our important goals in the context of Brexit is to protect their rights and ensure that they are not discriminated against,” underlined Grindeanu.

The premier mentioned that he has also conveyed to his Estonian counterpart Romania’s interest in the Eastern Partnership, that the Estonian Presidency will organise in November, saying that “Romania remains an active companion of our Eastern partners, especially the Republic of Moldova.”

Grindeanu added that together with his Estonian counterpart “we have agreed to work together to strengthen the economic dimension, but also to develop cooperation in other sectors, such as security, defence, culture, tourism, education, cybersecurity. Romania’s Government is also interested in ensuring the digitization of public services, and Estonia has a strong experience in this regard. We have expressed the openness to significantly develop cooperation with our friends in Estonia with regard to e-government policy. Taking into account the experience of Romania and Estonia in the cyber field, but also given the threats we faced and are literally facing in this sector, we had a very useful exchange with the Prime Minister about future cooperation arrangements, given that Estonia hosts the NATO Centre of Excellence in the field,” specified Grindeanu.

The prime minister also mentioned that another focus of the talks was “security aspects of the eastern flank”.

 

PM Juri Ratas: Romania has Estonia’s full support for Schengen accession

 

Romania has Estonia’s full support for accessing the Schengen Area, the Baltic state’s Prime Minister Juri Ratas said in Bucharest.

“It is a pleasure and an honour to be here today, in Bucharest, bracing for the future Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU (…) We discussed about the priorities of the second half of 2017, as well as about topics in connection to the future of the European Union and the implementation of a joint stance”, asserted Juri Ratas, at the Victoria governmental Palace, at a joint press conference with his Romanian counterpart Sorin Grindeanu.

Juri Ratas emphasized that Romania has the entire support of Estonia for its Schengen area accession bid.

Ratas stressed the good level of the Romanian-Estonian bilateral relationship, specifying that both countries have a fast-growing IT sector, fact that lays the foundations of an additional cooperation in this field.

He also appreciated Romania’s contribution in the air policing missions performed in the Baltic states, as well as the development in our country of the anti-missile defence system.

The Tallinn head of the Government presented the priorities of Estonia during the tenure at the EU’s Council helm, mentioning that to Estonia it is the first half-year rotating Presidency within the EU, coinciding with the nearing centennial celebration of Estonia and of Romania, too.

“It is paramount to show that EU27 is united and functional and that we’ll make it to surpass the negative elements, but most importantly that we can deliver. (…) We must show, again and again, that the EU is an essential part in the life of our citizens and that it answers the challenges we are confronted with today. The Presidency should find a common denominator and a balance between what is risky and what is certain, as regards the environment, the culture, the social and economic fields, to the North and to the South and to the East and to the West. Europe counts on the four pillars of peace, prosperity and so on, but we want the free data flow to become the fifth pillar of freedom within the EU. With these thoughts, the Estonian Presidency will focus on the following priorities: an open, innovative European economy, a reliable, secure Europe, a free of charge digital movement and a sustainable increase of the European economy. The main goal is to maintain the EU unity and advance our common cause”, said Juri Ratas.

 

Iohannis: Romania attaches importance to NATO defence, deterrence posture being consolidated on eastern flank

 

Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday welcomed Estonia’s Prime Minister Juri Ratas at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace, underscoring the importance attached by Romania to the NATO defence and deterrence posture being consolidated on the eastern flank, including at a summit of NATO heads of state or government scheduled for May 25 in Brussels.

The Presidential Administration says the talks between Iohannis and Ratas focused on items on the European, bilateral and regional agenda, mainly in the defence area.

Given that Estonia will take over – for the first time, the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union on July 1, Ratas unveiled his country’s priorities, including an open and sustainable European economy, a Europe that is safe and secure in the eyes of its citizens and steered toward digitisation and innovation.

He mentioned that Estonia is a strong supporter of Romania’s joining the border-free Schengen Area.

Iohannis thanked the Estonian official for his presence in Bucharest, the first official visit to Romania by an Estonian prime minister, voicing support for the priorities of Estonia’s incoming presidency of the Council of the EU.

The two officials also discussed the development of the EU digital market, with Iohannis underscoring that Romania is paying special attention to this topic, having recorded excellent results in the digital world.

Iohannis hailed the highest level of the bilateral relationship between Romania and Estonia, confirmed by the recent opening of their respective embassies. The two also voiced interest in 2018, a year that carries a historical significance for both countries, with Romania celebrating its national independence centennial – to provide an opportunity for a boost to bilateral economic cooperation through meetings of the business communities in the two countries.

As far as security goes, Iohannis highlighted the need for joint action to increase consistency in the approach of the NATO eastern flank, which still has to be further consolidated.

“The fact that the two countries are among the NATO member states having committed themselves to earmark 2 percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for defence spending is significant contribution toward strengthening the trans-Atlantic ties,” according to the Presidential Administration.

Iohannis also voiced Romania’s support for the fight against terror by joining the global efforts aimed at eradicating this scourge.

The two officials also voiced interest in the EU’s Eastern Partnership being consolidated, with Iohannis expressing Romania’s support for the Eastern Partnership summit during the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU this November to be a success, steered toward getting actual results for the eastern partners.

Iohannis and Ratas underscored the importance of active support for the Western Balkans, with Iohannis highlighting the importance of the EU continuing its open-door policy toward the countries in the region at the same time with boosting reforms in line with European values.

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