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President Iohannis on PESCO: Parallelism with NATO not intended

Permanent structured cooperation entailing defence and security is one of the most special topics of the European Council meeting, Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis stated on Thursday in Brussels, adding that parallelism with NATO is not intended, but the development of some structures which meet the needs of the European Union.

Asked upon arriving at the European Council headquarters which is Romania’s mandate at the meeting in Brussels, Iohannis answered: “We have the summer council meeting and a very busy agenda. I would mention, perhaps, of all the topics on today’s agenda, one that is more special, namely the so called PESCO [Permanent structured cooperation ], therefore a structural collaboration entailing security and defence. Romania is very much interested, because we want close collaboration among all the EU member states and we will bring our contribution here, but obviously with the same proviso that I nave made on different occasion. We don’t want to develop a parallelism with NATO, but, to develop structures that will meet the needs of the Union, and, on the other hand, that will complete and not compete with NATO structures.”

According to Iohannis, the European Council meeting features other “heavy topics” as well.

“There are more heavy topics, but there are topics for which preparations are very advanced and I don’t foresee complicate discussions – on migration, domestic market, digital market, and so on,” Iohannis said.

Furthermore, when asked about Romania’s offering in terms of combat groups and the military capability development programme, Iohannis stated that such stage has not been reached yet.

“This stage has not been reached yet where there is actual discussions on combat groups or capabilities to be employed. At this stage, more precisely today, a principle discussion is wanted in order to know if member states are essentially agreeing on designing such structured cooperation. (…) The Commission displayed three possible scenarios wanting to verify the option of member states in these matters. It will be a discussion which, in the end, will presumably be completed with a concept design agreement,” Iohannis said.

President Iohannis arrived on Thursday afternoon at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, accompanied by presidential adviser Leonard Orban.

On the side-lines of the European Council meeting, President Klaus Iohannis will have, on Friday morning, a meeting with France’s President Emmanuel Macron.

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