French Ambassador Michele Ramis and German Ambassador Cord Meier-Klodt advise Romania to put an end to domestic fighting and to take advantage of the opportunities that will be offered with the takeover of the presidency of the Council of the European Union, which will give the country a new outlook.
During a meeting at the Rasnov Film and Histories Festival – also attended by U.S. Ambassador Hans Klemm –, the two pointed out that the European Union is today facing challenges both within and without: terrorism, migration, scepticism, the breaching of international laws.
“It all creates a new context. We are dealing with surprises, but they are opportunities too. My concern is how can we defend our unique democratic model?”, Michele Ramis said.
Concerning migration, a phenomenon that has decreased in the last two years, Ramis stated that “it has remained a political problem.”
“President Macron has a strong vision on re-founding Europe, on making it stronger. He is trying to get more allies involved, to bring in more allies,” she added.
The two ambassadors said that France and Germany have taken the commitment of helping Romania prepare the takeover of the presidency of the Council of the EU.
“We believe the presidency of the Council will give Romania a new outlook. Romania must leave aside domestic fighting, it must be consistent in its values and should take advantage of the opportunity. You are underestimating your capabilities and opportunities. I would like Romania to return to Romania,” Ramis added.
On the other hand, Meier-Klodt pointed out that “the transatlantic alliance and the European Union must not be taken for granted, we must fight for them if we want to maintain what we obtained and to continue to shape our world, otherwise we will allow others to shape it.”
Likewise, he mentioned the challenges that the EU is facing: “From Europe’s standpoint, some of the most important challenges are Russia, the expansion of China’s interests and numerous crises. For Europe, President Trump’s new ‘America First’ policy must be taken into account as a new challenge. We find this ‘Me First’ principle in all European countries and it is a new one that we must deal with.”
“We shouldn’t fool ourselves. It’s not only about certain political figures, who may come and go or stay, but about a tectonic shift in our society, and the political figures are visible precisely for this reason,” Meier-Klodt added.
For Europe, “unity is not everything, but without unity everything is nothing,” the German ambassador paraphrased a line from one of Luchino Visconti’s films. “We want a certain Europe, not form without substance.”
“Keep Romania on the line of progress,” he asked. “Romania’s role shouldn’t be overestimated. Romania has the potential to gain a crucial role in this equation, as a fundamentally European country, without polarisation. Mentally, it is located in central Europe. The presidency of the Council of the European Union offers a unique opportunity, you’d better not miss it,” he added.
In January 2019, 12 years after its accession to the European Union, Romanian will take over the presidency of the Council of the EU for a period of six months.