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President Iohannis at European Council: Brexit topic was discussed, progress is lagging

President Klaus Iohannis stated on Thursday that, on the first day of the meeting of the European Council in Brussels, the Brexit topic was tackled, but, at the moment, progress is lagging and no agreement was reached.

The President added that he is among the leaders of the European Union member states who endorses the orderly withdrawal of the UK form the EU.

“The European Council meeting started last evening [on Wednesday] with an informal dinner, which didn’t bring any progress. The Brexit topic was discussed but, unfortunately, it looks like, so far, progress is lagging and no agreement has been reached. The work will continue, the negotiations will continue, but the optimism has reduced, so to speak,” President Iohannis stated.

When asked if he expects things to change during the talks with the European leaders present in Brussels these days, Iohannis responded: “We’ll see. I am among those who hope for an agreement to be reached, at least an orderly withdrawal of the UK, in order to try other steps afterwards.”

“Everybody hopes for the negotiations to re-enter a pace that allows progress,” the head of state said.

The President mentioned that the option of extending the negotiation term for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU is, for the time being, theoretical and hasn’t been discussed. “No, it was not agreed. Certainly, it is a theoretical option, for the time being. We didn’t discuss it, we didn’t agree on a new summit, but we want to continue the negotiations just as they started and, at some point, they worked pretty well,” Iohannis explained.

He mentioned that the topics tackled on Thursday morning are migration, internal security and foreign affairs.

“Basically, we formalise the discussions at the Salzburg Summit, which rather focused on ordinary topics, there were no contradictions. We didn’t understand then and, as I said, we will formalise a closer cooperation, a legislation that allows, as far as possible, the removal of terrorist content from the Internet, a closer cooperation on civil protection matters, and, in terms of foreign affairs, I certainly hope to tackle matters regarding the enlargement, sanctions, but I do not foresee particularly important developments,” President Iohannis said.

According to the head of state, at the end of the European Council meeting, within a working lunch, a Euro-Summit discussion, in a wide-format, will take pace with the attendance of all the leaders present in Brussels.

“Obviously, I will underscore that Romania wants to enter Eurozone, it wants a serious, sustainable approach and these things will be noted,” Iohannis pointed out.

When asked if he is optimistic in respect to Romania’s success in joining Eurozone, the President said he has no doubt about it.

“No doubt. We should make the difference between the concrete results which we have now and those which are lagging, therefore we are not in a period in which joining the Eurozone is imminent, but it’s a very important objective of Romania and it will happen. It won’t happen very soon, because things are moving slow,” Iohannis indicated.

 

President blames PSD-ALDE coalition for Romanians’ loss of confidence in the EU: They’ve created confusion through endless debates on the judiciary

Referring to the Eurobarometer which points to a slump in the Romanians’ confidence in the EU, President Klaus Iohannis stated on Thursday that this “is not good news.” The Head of State pointed out that the PSD-ALDE alliance created confusion with the “endless debates on the judiciary.”

“This is not good news, but, as we know, a nation’s opinion on European issues usually has to do more with domestic issues rather than European issues. The confusion created by PSD-ALDE, the endless debates on the judiciary in which PSD-ALDE adopts a conduct that runs completely counter to the expectations of the population and of European partners, all of this has led to reactions on the part of European partners and to a drop in confidence,” President Klaus Iohannis stated on Thursday before taking part in the European Council summit in Brussels.

“It’s a temporary slump and to the extent we manage to recover back home, to govern transparently, to make the governance in favour of those governed, not against them, then confidence will return to normal levels in excess of 50 percent,” Iohannis added.

According to a Eurobarometer published by the European Parliament on Wednesday, the percentage of Romanians who consider European Union membership to be good stands at just 49 percent, down ten percentage points compared to the previous poll conducted six months ago.

At European level, 62 percent of citizens consider that European Union membership is good for their country, the percentage representing a record-level in the last 25 years.

In what concerns Romania, the poll reveals a slight rise compared to the same period last year. Compared to April 2018, the poll reveals a drop of ten percentage points. The level of appreciation for European Union membership stands at 68 percent, up by one percentage point compared to April 2018, when the previous Eurobarometer was conducted.

In Romania, 64 percent of citizens consider that their country benefitted from European Union membership, down 7 percentage points compared to April.

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