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President Iohannis, after European Council meeting: We are determined to make EU better, closer to citizen

President Klaus Iohannis said in Brussels on Friday, after the meeting of the European Council, that the message sent by the Union’s leaders is a positive one and that they want to make the Union “better, closer to the citizen.”

“There have been two days of good discussions. The general message we can convey after these two days is a positive one. We are united, we are determined to move ahead, not just anyhow, but with optimism, so that we can make the Union better, closer to the citizen. We have worked in both formats – [including] the EU28 format, with the UK. (…) Today, we have discussed the so-called Leaders’ agenda, proposed by [European Council] President Donald Tusk, an agenda for the following two years, which plans how and where we meet, so that we can clarify as many issues as possible and are able to design the future of the EU. It is an important paradigm shift,” the head of state said, adding that the two days of discussions were intense.

According to him, Romania wants to enter a strategic planning area. “Over the recent years, we have usually reacted to what happened to us, we have tried to manage crises. Now we want to enter a strategic planning area and build the future of the Union ourselves, as we think it must be for the European citizens.”

President Iohannis announced that Romania has decided, together with the countries participating in the meeting, to support the Nuclear Agreement with Iran.

“Last night we discussed a very important topic, not only for the Union, but for everybody – the Nuclear Agreement with Iran. We unanimously decided to support this agreement. You know that there currently is a discussion on an international level. We, the European Union, continue to support the nuclear agreement with Iran,” the head of state stressed.

The migration topic was also on the agenda of the European Council meeting in Brussels.

“Yesterday we had a discussion on migration and I must admit that it was the first talk on migration on a rather positive, confident note. We have good results on all migration routes, in the sense that this migration flow has diminished very much. This is due to both the efforts of the Union and the efforts made by some member states. For instance, Italy got highly involved, with very nice results,” the head of state said.

The discussions on Friday, which were conducted in the EU27 format, without the UK, referred to Brexit.

“We have a negotiation team, headed by Mr. Michel Barnier, that negotiates the Brexit conditions. Initially, we worked in the idea of finding today a solution allowing us take the next step. The negotiations were intense, progress was made, but not sufficient. Therefore, today we noted that not enough progress was made to go to the next stage in the relation with the UK, however this mustn’t create a particular pessimism, the positions have been negotiated, they have gotten closer, but not enough to go further. Negotiations will go on and we’ll be trying to get the approval to continue at the next Council meeting in December,” President Iohannis underscored.

According to him, the Brexit calendar is no longer observed. “The calendar is no longer observed, it is clear, but that was a calendar with the option proposal that was thought feasible. We cannot overlook sensitive points for the sake of an agenda,” the Romanian head of state showed.

Asked about the EU’s relation with Turkey, with particular reference to the cut in pre-accession funding, Klaus Iohannis showed that the discussion was rather of mutual briefing and background. “These matters are quite complex. You very well know that certain statements have been made on both sides, which haven’t necessarily been positive. The developments in Turkey obviously create certain concern for many political leaders, and we discussed all these matters. We are going to find – together with Turkey – a future collaboration formula,” the President detailed.

 

“Had talk on migration, our first on rather positive and confident note”

 

Romania’s President stated that a discussion on migration had taken place at the European Council meeting, and that in his opinion, this was the first such talk on a “positive” and “confident” note.

“Yesterday we had a discussion on migration and I must admit that it was the first talk on migration on a rather positive, confident note. We have good results on all migration routes, in the sense that this migration flow has diminished very much. This is due to both the efforts of the Union and the efforts made by some member states. For instance, Italy got highly involved, with very nice results,” the head of state said in Brussels.

According to him, migration could bounce back to higher quotas and, in order to prevent that, a collaboration between the local administrations of the transit countries with the origin countries is needed.

“We haven’t exported the issue nor do we intend to. Migration is a fact. And if we have on the Mediterranean route 30,000 or 40,000 this year as compared to 300,000 last year, it is significant progress, but that doesn’t mean that the situation is stable and that we cannot go back to higher flows. A lot of work needs to be done. Many times, an in-depth approach is needed, liasing with the local administrations in the transit countries and we want to achieve all these things. It is not easy and it will not end soon. I believe our generation will have this matter on the agenda almost-permanently,” the head of state underscored.

Asked whether there is any fear that Romania might become a new route through the Black Sea, President Iohannis showed that such matters have been assessed in the country and there is no reason to worry about an excessive number of migrants.

“Such matters have been assessed at home and those in charge with this migration phenomenon assured me that we don’t have any reasons to worry for now. The fact that, indeed, we had this summer somewhat more migrants who came on the Black Sea route, it is known, there was enough news about it, without this showing a mass phenomenon, however. So, we are not worried that we will have an excessive number of migrants on the Black Sea route,'” the head of state specified.

President Klaus Iohannis participated on Thursday and Friday in the European Council meeting in Brussels, which mainly approached migration topics, the Union’s digital agenda, security and defence, the relations between the EU and Turkey and the North Korean file.

EU’s future was also tackled during the Council’s meeting, a context in which the Leaders’ Agenda was discussed, a document proposed by the Council President, detailing on the calendar and topics to be discussed by the European leaders by the end of the first half of 2019.

Furthermore, a session in EU27 format took place, devoted to discussions referring to the UK leaving the EU, for the assessment of the progress made so far in the negotiation process.

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