President Klaus Iohannis said on Friday that Romania is open to the matter of increasing national contributions for the future budget of the European Union.
“We are open to this matter. It is clear that if we want to solve more European programs and considering Brexit, where we will certainly lose some money to the budget, it is clear that it can only be done through restructuring but without neglecting classic and important areas, for example, cohesion must remain as well funded and as important as it has been so far, but if we want more, we have to pay a little more. The discussion is at the moment whether we want or do not want in principle to get from 1% of GDP for these funds to something of the order of 1.1 and something. We are talking about a slight increase,” the president said before the European Council meeting in Brussels.
He pointed out that the European Council meeting will discuss the elections to the European Parliament of next year and how the outcome of the elections will be managed at European level.
“Romania has shown openness for all these discussions. We believe that the top candidate solution or Spitzenkandidaten solution is not a bad option at all, but we have the same opinion as many others that this method of presenting the candidate cannot lead to automatism within the Council, because the Council, according to the Treaty, has the power to decide on a proposal for the President of the European Commission,” Iohannis said.
The president said that the Council meeting will also discuss the budget for the post-2020 period.
“There is a need for a minimum harmonization of the positions of the member states, harmonization in the sense that for example if we want to allocate more or less on the next budget, or we still remain on the 1% of GDP criterion. A lot of people believe that a slight increase in the allocation for this budget after 2020 is necessary, because we have priorities that need to be funded. Here we are talking about managing migration, managing foreign borders, research, and also topics that are extremely important, for example, how can we encourage students to have access to a European type of education, first of all Erasmus,” said President Iohannis.
He welcomed the initiative regarding the discussion on the EU budget before the more detailed projection of the European Commission.
Iohannis-Juncker discussion, in Brussels
President Klaus Iohannis had a discussion with the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday at the informal meeting of the European Council in Brussels.
At the start of the meeting, Klaus Iohannis also attended debates where other European leaders were present, including European Council President Donald Tusk, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
President Iohannis also had a discussion with Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen.