Minister Delegate for European Affairs Victor Negrescu told a press conference in Alba Iulia on Saturday that the ministry under his coordination is running full throttle and is up to date with all the paperwork related to European affairs.
“We are up to date with the entire documentation regarding European affairs. We are running full throttle in this regard and managed in the past week to take up the entire process regarding several elements. I am referring here to the Brexit working group, the timely submission of the file for the European Medicines Agency, a project coordinated by the Ministry of Health; moreover, we managed to organize the first meeting of the Coordination Committee on European Affairs, with Premier Tudose attending. Through this action we made it clear that European cooperation is a priority area for the current government,” said the Minister Delegate for European Affairs.
Victor Negrescu mentioned that the pillars of his ministerial mandate are two: “On the one hand, the idea of political consensus, national consensus on the subject of European affairs. I don’t think we must politicize this area if we really want to matter in Brussels, it is important to keep dialogue going with all the bodies, meaning here the Executive, Parliament, the Presidential Administration, for them to converge on a single point of view, a clear, punctual, precise point of view on what Romania wants from the European Union now, ten years on from its integration with this European family,” the minister said.
Victor Negrescu added that this will also have to do with the way Romania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2019 will be prepared.
“The preparation process is underway, all structures are functional and it is important that this term in office allows for the improvement of Romania’s image abroad and, above all, that it becomes the moment when all the institutional and political forces are involved in this process, and here I mean also our desire to involve, to the possible extent, the non-governmental sector, the business environment and the trade unions, because we need everyone, all citizens of Romania to really feel that this Presidency is theirs, the Presidency of Romania, not of one or another entity,” Negrescu said.
He added that another priority for him, as a minister, is rendering access to European information democratic. “In the three years I served as MEP I understood that information on European subjects is not very well known. This is why it is important to translate what is being discussed in Brussels into a language that is easy, accessible to the many,” said the EU Affairs Minister, mentioning that a set of mechanisms has already been developed to make this possible.
“Organised civil society can play active role in preparation, exercise of Romania’s EU Presidency”
Organized civil society can play an active role in the preparation of Romania’s upcoming Presidency of the EU Council, but also in the country’s exercising this office, and strengthening dialogue and cooperation between the government and the non-governmental milieu is extremely important in this regard, considers Minister Delegate for European Affairs Victor Negrescu, as cited in a release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Negrescu expressed this idea in response to a letter addressed on Thursday by civil society organizations on the subject of the Romanian forthcoming Presidency of the EU Council.
“I appreciate the steps initiated by Europuls and the Foundation for Civil Society Development in support of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council in 2019 and I share your point of view: Romania should not only seek doing an honorable job in fulfilling this obligation as an EU member state, but must also show it has the capacity to successfully exercise the Presidency of the Council,” the Minister Delegate said in the release.
In his opinion, the “organized civil society can play an active role in the preparation and exercise of the Presidency of the EU Council, and in this regard, strengthening dialogue and cooperation between the government and the non-governmental milieu is extremely important.”
“I am glad that the organized civil society has this vision and this interest that converge with the goals and the manner whereby I want to accomplish the mandate of Minister Delegate entrusted to me,” Victor Negrescu said.
He also expressed his opinion that important steps have been taken in the preparation of Romania’s term at the helm of the EU, “but there’s no doubt that the process could pick up speed without compromising on rigor, reliability and professionalism.”
“I assure you that me and my colleagues are considering speeding up this process, which will imply not only coordinating the governmental structures with relevant responsibilities, but also cooperation with the civil society, so that Romania be best prepared to for this important moment,” said the Minister Delegate for European Affairs.
He concludes that the reply to the letter can also be considered “an invitation to dialogue, and that the setting thereof will be perfected in the next period.”
Platform RO2019, Europuls – the European Expertise Center and the Foundation for Civil Society Development this week called on Premier Mihai Tudose and Minister Delegate for European Affairs Victor Negrescu to take action for speeding up preparations for the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council.
“The current state of preparations is a reason of serious concern for the Romanian European affairs experts. The poor communication, the slow progress of recruitment and training of the necessary experts, the lack of involvement of the civil society, of the media, the academic milieu, of a cross-party engagement of the political environment, but particularly the absence of visible substantial action on the part of the government are all reasons of concern,” reads the open letter.
The signatories underline that they are aware that much of the effort is directed towards logistics and personnel, but remark that “for a successful Presidency we must not just survive, but excel.”
The letter also points to the lack of coordination with NGOs and the citizens.
“The announced public consultations lack a clear statement of the purpose, scope, time and place. The civil society is not just a potential source of ideas for the priorities of the 2019 Presidency, but also a paramount ally for the entire preparation and implementation process,” the letter also note