DIPLOMACY POLITICS

George Ciamba, sworn in as new minister-delegate for European affairs. Iohannis-Dancila, face-to-face meeting at Cotroceni after recent broadsides: Reasonable preparation of Council of the EU presidency still possible. Explanations from Finnish embassy: It was clear that Romania takes over the responsibility of the Presidency of EU Council

President Klaus Iohannis has told the members of the Dancila Cabinet, present at the swearing-in ceremony for Minister Delegate George Ciamba, that a reasonable preparation of the Council of the EU presidency is still possible. The statement comes after the President recently said that Romania is not ready.

“I wish you good luck in this regard. It’s one second to midnight for a reasonable preparation of the presidency of the Council of the EU and I believe it’s still possible,” President Klaus Iohannis told Premier Viorica Dancila and the other members of Government present at the ceremony in which George Ciamba was sworn in as Minister Delegate for European Affairs, following Victor Negrescu’s resignation last Friday.

According to information provided by the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s website, George Ciamba has been working within that ministry since December 1990. He became secretary of state in November 2012. Prior to being appointed secretary of state for European Affairs, George Ciamba was Romanian ambassador to the Republic of Greece (2005-2012). In February 2016, he was released from the office of secretary of state and was then reappointed in January 2017.

The President signed on Tuesday the decree appointing Ciamba in office, shortly after Premier Viorica Dancila’s nomination reached the Cotroceni Palace.

Klaus Iohannis announced on Tuesday, several hours before signing the decree, that he will take a quick decision regarding the nomination for the European Affairs portfolio.

“Several weeks ago, they were making a ruckus with the Government reshuffle. I see now that a bit-by-bit reshuffle is taking place, namely they should go one by one. It seems I’ll receive two nominations, one of which will be analysed very quickly. I’m talking about the Minister Delegate for European Affairs, we are nevertheless getting ready to take over the presidency of the Council of the EU. I don’t know why Mr Negrescu resigned, what’s certain is that we don’t have a minister on the eve of the presidency. The nomination made seems to be one that I’ll read in a positive note. I’ve collaborated very well with Mr Ciamba so far and I believe it’s important that I issue a resolution for this nomination, for us to finally move,” Klaus Iohannis stated at the Cotroceni Palace.

President Klaus Iohannis stated on Monday that Romania is not ready to take over the Council of the European Union, considering that the responsible Government members are being replaced or are leaving and “things have gone haywire.”

“I must point out a great worry I have, even though it does not concern you directly. It’s about 2019, the year when Romania takes over the presidency of the Council of the EU, an extremely honouring and demanding position, especially for the Government. I believe we’re not ready for this. Several weeks ago, I said we’ll live up to it reasonably, it’s just that things have gone haywire in the meantime, it’s no longer clear at the Government who the responsible persons are, the persons who should deal with this are resigning or are being dismissed from office. I believe that even now, at the last moment, the political need is to replace the Dragnea-Dancila Government, this accident of Romanian democracy. There is no outlook for good governance and involvement in European affairs. These things are very grave,” Klaus Iohannis stated.

Premier Viorica Dancila stated on Tuesday, for Antena3, that the President has made a personal obsession out of toppling the current Cabinet. “The President has made a personal obsession out of toppling the current Cabinet. I have the conviction that the Government will survive, because it’s the Government of Romania. (…) By making such statements, by wanting to topple the Government, Mr Iohannis does a profound disservice to Romania. I’m the supporter of good cooperation, but I’m forced to firmly condemn such an attitude. I wonder what the President wants. Anarchy? Instability? Because I believe this is the effect when you promote such statements,” Viorica Dancila stated for Antena3.

 

 “Prime Minister’s Hour” postponed, Dancila chooses Cotroceni Palace, for Ciamba’s swearing-in, over the Palace of Parliament

 

The members of the House Standing Bureau have postponed the “Prime Minister’s Hour” meeting during which two sensitive topics regarding the EU criticism levelled against Romania would have been debated, in order to allow Viorica Dancila to attend the swearing-in of George Ciamba at the Cotroceni Palace.

The House Standing Bureau took the decision to postpone the “Prime Minister’s Hour” for a later date which will be established by the leadership of the House.

 

Finnish PM expresses his country’s readiness to take over the presidency of the Council of the EU against the backdrop of political tensions in Bucharest, however Romanian officials say Romania can undertake this task

 

Finnish Premier Juha Sipila expressed on Monday evening his country’s readiness to take over the presidency of the Council of the EU, considering the political tensions in Bucharest, however Romanian officials have said that Romania can undertake this task in line with the schedule already established. Finland is set to take over the presidency of the Council in July 2019.

His conclusion was that the political tensions in Bucharest will not affect the timetable of taking over the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU.

Sipila told Finland’s STT agency on Tuesday that Romania does not intend to postpone the taking over of the presidency of the EU, scheduled to start on 1 January 2019 and to be followed by Finland’s presidency in July.

The Finnish press quotes Klaus Iohannis’s statement according to which “the situation has worsened” and that there is “a political need to replace the Government,” which he called “an accident of Romanian democracy.”

“We are in the eleventh hour and we’re unprepared. There is no chance of a good Government or of proper involvement in European affairs,” Iohannis stated, the statement being quoted by Finnish journalists.

Consequently, Sipila stated on Monday evening that the Finnish Government has prepared for a potential request on the part of Bucharest to switch places and take over the presidency of the Council of the EU at the start of 2019, however such a request has not been made.

On the contrary, the Romanian Government has confirmed that it will take over its mandate as scheduled.

Last month, EU Commissioner for Justice Vera Jourova expressed her concern regarding Romania’s ability to manage the presidency of the EU against the backdrop of internal tensions that especially concern corruption.

Finland will take over the presidency of the Council of the EU for the third time in 2019, having previously done so in 1999 and 2006.

 

MAE: Romania is ready to take over, on 1 January 2019, the presidency of the Council of the EU

 

The Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) announced on Tuesday evening that Romania is ready to take over, on 1 January 2019, the presidency of the Council of the European Union, and preparations are on schedule. Moreover, the MAE claims that the proper exercising of the mandate “is a joint exercise that must be based on political consensus between all state institutions and on open and honest dialogue.”

The MAE made the statement “against the backdrop in which the media has published information according to which Romania is allegedly not ready to take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and the Finnish Government allegedly expressed its readiness to offer support, including by pushing forward Finland’s exercise of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union to 1 January 2019.”

“As the Government of Romania has reiterated on countless occasions, Romania is ready to take over, on 1 January 2019, the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and preparations are on schedule. Likewise, we point out that the Finnish Government deems that Romania’s preparations are on schedule and the dialogue within the framework of the TRIO format once again confirms Romania’s capacity to successfully exercise this mandate. Following the clarifications offered by the Romanian Embassy to Helsinki, the main Finnish daily published an update on the statements made by Finnish officials, an update that includes the position of the Romanian Executive and clarifies the fact that Romania does not find itself in the impossibility of exercising the Presidency of the Council of the EU and will not ask the Finnish Government for assistance in this regard,” the MAE informs.

The ministry’s representatives state that “the proper exercising of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union is a joint exercise that must be based on political consensus between all state institutions and on open and honest dialogue that would allow Romania to successfully fulfil this responsibility.”

“This mandate represents an opportunity to confirm Romania’s commitment toward the European Union and to promote its values, but also to consolidate and articulate Romania’s role at the level of member states. Last but not least, we underscore the importance of maturely treating information that is not based on real undertakings and that may affect Romania’s image and may influence the credibility of its statute at European level,” the MAE points out.

 

PM Dancila says Romania is ready to take over Presidency of EU Council;Iohannis’s statements deeply damage Romania’s interests

 

Romania is ready to take over the Presidency of the EU Council and, through his statements, Klaus Iohannis “profoundly damages” the interest of our country, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila stated on Tuesday evening.

When asked on Antena 3 private television station whether or not Romania is ready to take over the Presidency of the EU Council in the context of the Finnish PM’s statements, who offered for his country to take over the rotating Presidency instead of Romania, following President Klaus Iohannis’s statements, Dancila responded: “It was to be expected that following Mr President Klaus Iohannis’s statements we would have this type of effects. Romania is certainly ready to take over the Presidency of the EU Council. Romania’s Government is well prepared and this thing is even known by President Iohannis, because we have an inter-ministerial committee for the Presidency of the EU Council, which meetings were attended by representatives of the Presidential Administration.”

Moreover, the PM added having met the head of state in order to explain him the stage of the preparation for the Presidency. “Even the Secretary General of the European Commission said that Romania is ready to take over the rotating Presidency,” Dancila added.

The PM also provided some elements, for the first time, related to the programme of actions that are to be carried out during Romania’s mandate.

“The entire programme of actions is completed. During Romania’s mandate there will be over 1,000 formal and informal meetings in Brussels, Strasbourg, Luxembourg, therefore, there will be seven meetings and discussions each day during Romania’s Presidency of the EU Council. We will have a multitude of formal and informal events organised in Romania. The essential benchmarks for the heads of state and government meetings in Sibiu on 9 May 2019 have been defined. I can say that the actual programme of the Summit started, the accreditation system is completed, the website is ready, the people in charge with the events and protocols established, the interinstitutional network of communicators is formed and trained,” Dancila mentioned.

The PM also added that Romania has selected and prepared “an army of professionals who will ensure the necessary human resource.”

“There are 279 presidents and vice-presidents of working groups, 342 coordinators, 800 file experts. There have been supplemented by 132 the offices at Romania’s Representation to the EU. There are just some figures that show the seriousness of the takeover of the Presidency and the fact that we are ready and able to take over the rotating Presidency. Moreover, Romania currently exercises the “shadow Presidency” during the Austrian Presidency. This thing will allow an easy transition from the Austrian Presidency to the rotating Presidency which Romania will hold, as of 1 January 2019,” Dancila stated.

 

Explanations from Finnish embassy: It was clear that Romania takes over the responsibility of the Presidency of EU Council

 

Finnish Ambassador to Romania Paivi Pohjanheimo stated on Wednesday, for MEDIAFAX, that bilateral talks have not taken place at any level regarding a swap between the Finnish side and the Romanian side in taking over the Presidency of the Council of the EU.

“There has never been such a discussion at any level. The issue of doubting Romania’s takeover of the Presidency of the Council of the EU was never raised for Finland,” Finnish Ambassador to Romania Paivi Pohjanheimo stated for MEDIAFAX on Wednesday.

Asked whether Finland wants to take over the Presidency of the Council of the EU in Romania’s place, the answer was: “Finland is preparing to take over the Presidency of the Council of the EU on July 1, after Romania.”

 

 

 

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