European negotiations for UK’s departure from the European Union are headed in a direction that is highly favorable to Romania, said President Klaus Iohannis, who attended Thursday and Friday the European Council meeting.
“Brexit negotiations are headed in a direction that is highly favorable to Romania and this is not just by chance, we got involved in talks with the negotiation team, with the other teams from the EU countries and so far – I state this again, this is just an intermediary negotiation stage – we got good results. You may remember that at the beginning we listed three goals, or three themes of major importance to us: citizens’ rights, the financial agreement and the subsequent security and defence agreement. I can say that at this moment, as we speak, the negotiations have resulted in a document that 100 percent satisfies the requirements related to the citizens, not only the grant of rights to European citizens who are now in the UK has been accepted, but also to the citizens who will arrive in the UK by the end of the transition period, which is highly important. The financial agreement in the form negotiated so far is 100 percent satisfactory from our point of view, and defence and security is not necessarily related to Brexit negotiations, but to a subsequent agreement, yet we were able to already see last night, during talks on solidary action with the UK in the UK-Russia affair, that everybody agreed that at this point we need and will also have a very good understanding,” Iohannis explained.
He specified that talks at the European Council meeting also dealt with trade relations between the EU and the US, stating that developments are not “sensationally positive, but neither very negative.”
“The conclusion is that the necessary steps will be taken for a serious negotiation, within reasonable deadlines. With [so little to go] till May 1, this is no longer a reasonable deadline for such negotiations, yet our attitude is, so to say, of cautious optimism,” Iohannis said.
As regards the position adopted towards Russia, the head of the state said the decision was reached by consensus.
“Do you know why these talks are taking so long? Because it’s a complex matter and we want to consider all facets. We make decisions by consensus, votes are cast only on issues that obviously are settled by vote only. Therefore, I can tell you that everybody agreed with the recall of the European ambassador, that is the ambassador of us all, for consultations. The other measures, the text of the conclusions included, met consensus. So, this was not a majority, but consensus. The fact that we don’t reach consensus in half an hour on complicated themes is, in my opinion, a positive, rather than negative signal,” Iohannis said.
Referring to Romania’s taking over the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Iohannis said that preparations are underway and Romania will do an honorable job in this office.
“Protectionist measures do not uphold global development”
President Klaus Iohannis argued in the European Council’s reunion in favour of free trade and underscored that protectionist measures do not uphold global development, in the context of the discussions held during the meeting regarding the plan of the US administration to unilaterally impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
“As regards the measures announced by the President of the United States, Donald Trump, the European leaders have expressed their regret in relation to the US administration’s intent to unilaterally impose tariffs for the steel and aluminum imports. On the other hand, I took note of President Trump’s decision of temporarily exempting, until 1 May, the European Union from enforcing these measures. Romania’s President pronounced himself in favour of free trade and underscored that protectionist measures do not help global development,” the Presidential Administration informs in a press release sent to AGERPRES on Friday.
The head of state showed that the United States remains an important ally of the European Union and voiced, alongside the other European leaders, the conviction, that following the dialogue to be carried out between the European Commission and the US Administration, the EU will be permanently exempt from these measures.
The Presidential Administration informs that President Klaus Iohannis has highlighted, in reference to the social dimension of the European Union, our country’s support in creating a genuine European Pillar of Social Rights, to the benefit of all European citizens, pointing out at the same time, that from this perspective, the implementation of principles and rights stated through the Inter-institutional proclamation, endorsed at European level, needs an inclusive, sustainable approach.
In the context of the recent publication by the European Commission of the Social Justice Package, the European leaders have invited the Council to examine, in the upcoming period, the proposals advanced by the EC, including those referring to the creation of a European Labour Authority.
“President Klaus Iohannis reiterated Romania’s support in pursuing the process of implementation of the strategies agreed at European level relative to the Single Market, with regard to the digital domain, the one of the capital and energy markets, included” reads the release.
President Klaus Iohannis said on Friday, when speaking about Romania’s adoption of the euro in 2024 that “temporarily” Romania is out of the compliance margin, but things can be corrected if there is governmental political will.
“At this point and temporarily we have come out of the compliance margin, but things can be corrected if politically desired, and here, there is a need for a governmental political will,” said the head of state in Brussels, when asked whether 2024 was a realistic term for the adoption of the euro by Romania.
He also commented on the Government’s decision to set up the national Commission to draw up the euro adoption plan.
“I do not want to be skeptical of that committee, but we had a committee, which was under the coordination of the BNR. Now we will have a committee under the coordination of the Government. I can tell you that I will not set up a committee under the coordination of the Presidential Administration. In essence, if all these committees gather in a serious forum and the discussion is started on some concrete measures, because it is about concrete things, then 2024 can be considered, ” said Iohannis.
“Request to President Juncker to clarify aspects of PM Viorica Dancila’s letter; no interference, though”
Romania’s President also stated on Friday that he asked European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to treat in all seriousness and in-depth the aspects invoked by the letter addressed to him by Prime Minister Viorica Dancila regarding the high level corruption cases.
“We had no consultations at home, but I have seen that letter. (…) It is a letter requesting for clarifications, it does not make any allegations and from this point of view the letter is not wrong and yes, I talked to President Juncker about the case at hand as he approached me and I told him that it is a legitimate concern on behalf of the public opinion and the political opinion in Romania. I asked him to have it worked upon by a team who should consider the matter in all seriousness and in-depth so they can give us some insight. I, personally, do not believe we are talking about interference in the justice act, but I do not want to give the answer at the place of the Commission. I also asked them to treat the matter comprehensively and to come with pertinent answers for the entire demarche, because in the end, this is where a boost of confidence in the CVM [Co-operation and Verification Mechanism]’s credibility results from at home, or a drop in confidence in this mechanism. I believe matters will straighten out quickly and well,” affirmed the head of state who participated Thursday through Friday in the Council of Europe’s meeting in Brussels.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila sent a letter to President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, asking him to clarify “the de facto and de jure aspects” related to a letter of the EC from October 2012, sent to the Romanian Justice Ministry in which “concrete, direct” demands can be found regarding certain criminal cases and certain people under criminal investigation for corruption and abuse of office offenses.
“I expect we improve Justice Laws; a first analysis when they reach me”
Klaus Iohannis stated that his expectations regarding the Justice laws are related to their improvement, until they “meet the needs of the Romanian society”, specifying that the moment the laws reach him, he will carry out a first analysis as several options can be taken into account.
“I expect we improve the laws, until they are good enough and they meet the needs of the Romanian society. (…) I intend, the minute these laws reach me, because so far none has made its way to me institutionally, to carry out a first analysis, to make an intent public statement and then I will tell a little more concretely what I think about these demarches, about certain articles and what I will do, eventually, with these laws, as in a first stage, I have several options that can be targeted,” the head of state affirmed.
The Chamber of Deputies adopted on Tuesday the amendments to the three Justice Laws – 304/2004 on judicial organisation, 303/2004 on the statutes of magistrates and 317/2004 on the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM). The pieces of legislation entered the legislative circuit of the Senate, which is a decision-making Chamber.