DIPLOMACY

EP President Antonio Tajani in Bucharest: We want Romania’s first-time Presidency of EU Council to be a success

President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani said on Wednesday in Bucharest that he wants the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council next year to be a success not only for Romania but for the entire European Union.

The EP official attended together with a Brussels delegation the meeting of the European Parliament Conference of Presidents with the Government of Romania, organized in view of Romania’s upcoming term at the helm of the EU Council, as of January 1, 2019.

“We discussed Brexit, we discussed the priorities of the European Parliament which need to be considered and mentioned in this agreement. It’s about the rights of the European citizens of the UK, 3.6 million European citizens live in the UK. Also, the rights of British citizens across the EU are important. The commitments made by the UK for the 2014 – 2020 Financial Framework must be maintained and, as a third point – regarding the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Peace must be guaranteed, compliance with the well-known Good Friday Agreement, but this border must be flexible. (…) The entry of products that make unfair competition to our agriculture and agri-food industry must be avoided. (…) We all trust chief negotiator Barnier and we hope a positive agreement is reached. The European Parliament will have the final say, but we will work closely with the Romanian Presidency and the European Commission to be able to protect the interests of the European citizens”, Tajani said.

“We have requested the cooperation of the Government of Romania in order to clinch a positive solution – it is about migration and especially about the set of seven proposals, which also refer to the reform of the Dublin asylum rules. As you know, the Parliament adopted a legislative text. Now we want the Council, in its turn, to accept our proposals, even if there will be a possible compromise, but in order to obtain this we need determined and resolute action on the part of the Romanian Government. At the meeting today, we received assurances of the hardworking involvement of the Government in Bucharest in settling this issue, and I hereby thank Mrs. Prime Minister”, Tajani said.

The EP President also referred to the ‘Marshall Plan for Africa’ aimed at combating the roots of migration, stating that it is however clear that not only migration is a source of concern – as the security of the EU external borders and fighting terrorism must also be considered, therefore it is important for Africa to become a stable continent.

We received assurance from the Government of Romania regarding efforts to nail down at least an agreement regarding the General Financial Framework. We insist that member states do not postpone this file until after the European elections because it is fair for the citizens to know what the EU’s intentions for the future are, therefore we want to bring the citizens increasingly closer to the European institutions. You know there’s this issue, with many citizens feeling they are driven away by the European institutions, and this is why concrete solutions are needed in this regard, said Antonio Tajani.

There is a great deal of resistance in the European Parliament against the European Commission’s proposals on the Common Agricultural Policy, and these proposals may end up being rejected by the European Parliament. We will see what happens, but we have large reservations as regards the content. The Parliament does not want Common Agricultural Policy funds to be cut and we also defend the EU’s cohesion policy. Of course we will have to work closely with the Romanian Presidency to obtain positive results. We want own resources for the European budget, we want the budget to grow from 1.1 to 1.3 of the Community’s GDP and we want to do this without asking for extra money from the member states. For instance, we are in favor of a tax on Internet giants, Tajani said.

According to him, the talks also referred to the EU’s external security and the observance of rule of law, defending the fundamental values of the EU and human rights.

These must be respected in all European countries, and we also said that action must be taken to defend them elsewhere too. I am thinking of Venezuela, Nicaragua, of other regions where, unfortunately, the freedom of the press is limited. In the next few months the European Union will make its voice heard in this respect, Tajani underscored.

In conclusion, the EP President said that this first meeting in Bucharest was positive, the more so as “the Romanian Government has pledged support to certain initiatives of the European Parliament”.

“I am thinking of the Dublin Convention, and of reaching a political agreement on the budget. This is a signal of high availability that the Government of Romania is sending to us. We are prepared to work together with the next Presidency, on May 9 we will attend the Sibiu Summit, when we will have the occasion to send out a strong message to the voters, because we want turnout in the next European elections to be as high as possible”, Antonio Tajani concluded.

 

“High time to speed up Romania’s accession to Schengen”

 

The European official also highlighted in Bucharest that it is high time to speed up Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area.

“I think it is high time to speed up Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area, so as to better guarantee our borders and security, countries on standby must access the Schengen faster,” Antonio Tajani said during the joint press statements with Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, at the end of the meeting of the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament with the Romanian Government, organised in view of Romania’s taking over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union as of 1 January 2019.

 

PM Dancila: Romanian Parliament to shortly vote final form of EU Council’s presidency

 

Prime Minister Viorica Dancila announced on Wednesday that the final program form of the presidency of the Council of the European Union will be voted shortly in the Romanian Parliament.

“I want to assure you from the very beginning that Romania is ready to take over the presidency of the Council of the European Union. We are prepared both from an organizational and logistic point of view, but also from the point of view of the program that we have for taking over the presidency,” declared Dancila at the beginning of the meeting of the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament and of the Government of Romania, which is taking place at Victoria Palace.

The prime minister welcomed the presence in Bucharest of the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, and the leaders of the political groups in the European Parliament.

“We appreciate your presence here, in the Centennial Year, a year in which Romania celebrates one hundred years since the Greater Union. We enjoy your presence here, on the first visit prior to the taking over of the presidency of the Council of the European Union by Romania on 1 January 2019,” said Dancila.

She pointed out that the talks at the meeting will focus on important topics for the European Union, stating that the subjects related to Romania’s preparation for the presidency of the EU Council “will bring added value”.

“At the same time, it will help us to see common points regarding both the future presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament,” Dancila said.

The head of the Bucharest Government said that during the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council, many events will be held in Romania and in Brussels.

“The program includes four distinct points: a Europe of cohesion, which is also the motto of the presidency of the Council of the European Union held by Romania – ‘Europe of the European common values’, a Europe of security, the boost of the European Union’s global role and, of course, the promotion of the European values,” said Viorica Dancila.

 

“Romania intends to have ambitious, yet realistic presidency of EU Council”

 

Prime minister Viorica Dancila said on Wednesday that Romania intends to have an “ambitious, but also realistic” presidency of the Council of the European Union.

“Romania intends to have an ambitious, but also realistic presidency. I say ambitious because we want to give a positive answer to the ongoing challenges at a European level, that we aim to solve as many cases as we can, that are on the Presidency’s desk, but, at the same time, a realistic one as well, because this, as well as many of the challenges are not just up to Romania, they rely on a political agreement, a co-decision between the European institutions, and I am referring to the European Parliament, the European Commission, and, of course, the European Council,” Prime minister Viorica Dancila said during a joint statement with the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani.

 

President Iohannis: Romania wants to contribute to promoting common European agenda

 

Romania wants to contribute to promoting the common European agenda, in a constructive and consensus spirit, President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday, during the Cotroceni Presidential Palace meeting with the delegation of the European Parliament (EP), led by EP head Antonio Tajani.

“The European Parliament is a key-partner in the mandate which Romania is to take over at the EU Council presidency and generally in terms of the cooperation with all European institutions. I am very pleased with the European Parliament’s approach to consolidating the European project and deepening the integration process for the benefit of all European citizens. (…) Romania fully shares this pro-European orientation and we will assume it as holder of the EU Council presidency and I am convinced that through our actions we can create a stronger and better European Union. We are aware of the complexity, of how complicated the context in which we will take over the presidency of the EU Council is. We will face multiple challenges that affect both the lives of citizens, as well as of the governments. That is why we need to show realism but also ambition in the way we will approach our mandate. I assure you that Romania wants to contribute through our common efforts to promoting the common European agenda, in a constructive and consensus spirit,” the head of the state said.

He voiced hope that the next year’s Sibiu Summit will define the way in which the European project will look like.

The head of state said that the success of the Romanian Presidency will largely depend on a strong political will and this must be assumed by both the European Parliament and the Council.

 

Tajani to Iohannis: Your role is very important to us

 

The European Parliament’s President Antonio Tajani on Wednesday brought to mind that the EP elections are to be organised during Romania’s rotating presidency of the EU Council, a reason why, together with President Klaus Iohannis, it will be important to send a constructive message to the European citizens regarding the work the EP is carrying out.

“During Romania’s presidency [of the EU Council, ed. n.] the elections for the EP will be organized, and this is why it is very important that we send a constructive message to the European citizens regarding our work. Your role is very important to us, because you not only are the country’s president, Romania’s president, but also a member of the European Council, and we need your support in two-three matters, crucial to the European Parliament”, Antonio Tajani told Klaus Iohannis, during their meeting at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.

In context, the EP president brought to mind Brexit as a first topic for which he is expecting Romania’s support during its presidency of the EU Council.

“We must fight to guarantee the citizens’ rights, to secure the necessary funds for the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework and solve the border issues in Ireland”, Tajani said.

He added that another topic is the one that concerns the refugees, mentioning that we must reach an agreement in the Council regarding the Dublin Regulation reform. There are several files. We have an accord regarding five of the important files, and yet not as regards the Dublin Regulation reform. We need your support to reach an agreement because we have to send a message regarding the fate of the refugees. It is a significant matter for the European Parliament, the EP head stressed.

Tajani emphasised the importance of the future MFF (Multiannual Financial Framework), saying that we wish to increase the funds that are gathering to the EU budget, from 1.1pct to 1.3pct. It is important to us, he added, reminding that the EP passed last week a proposition on the MFF.

The EP head highlighted that during the EP elections campaign, several information campaigns will unfold, and asked for Romania’s support in this matter, too.

Once again we need your support, because the elections are more and more important for the EU future. We must reform Europe, yet it would be a mistake to kill Europe, because it is the only institution that can protect 500 million people who live on our continent. We face competition at global level from China, Russia, India, the USA. We must be united, have good, democratic institutions, and we wish to have more competence at the European Parliament, Tajani said.

He stressed that the EP is ready to have a collaboration as good as possible with Romania during the latter’s presidency of the EU Council.

 

EP President Tajani meets Liberal head Ludovic Orban, reaffirms support for Romania’s Schengen bid

 

During a meeting Tuesday evening with Liberal leader Ludovic Orban, visiting President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani reaffirmed his support for Romania’s Schengen bid and the need for compliance with the EP resolution on Romania’s rule of law and the recommendations in the CVM report, informs a release on Wednesday.

Tajani said that he supports Romania’s efforts to join the Schengen Area and that he is calling on member states that block our country’s access to the border-free space to give up their opposition.

Ludovic Orban thanked the EP official for being a steady supporter of Romania’s Schengen accession, stating that Romanians should enjoy as soon as possible free movement within the European Union.

The sides also looked at the aspects that led to the adoption of the European Parliament resolution on the rule of law in Romania, the cited release said, with Ludovic Orban stating that both the content of the EP resolution and the recommendations in the CVM report express the stances of the National Liberal Party (PNL) regarding the serious violations by the current parliamentary majority of judicial independence and the European standards on criminal legislation.

“The PNL Chairman pointed out to the European official that the reactions of the Romanian government and the PSD-ALDE parliamentary majority are hostile to European recommendations and betray an obvious anti-European position, contrary to the interests of Romania. The EP President said that resolution of the European lawmaking body defends rule of law in Romania, and that the government and the parliamentary majority must observe and implement the recommendations set forth in the resolution and in the European Commission’s CVM report,” the release said.

Referring to Romania’s taking over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union on January 1, 2019, the EP President insisted on the need for the Bucharest Executive to be well prepared for this role, and expressed readiness for close cooperation with the National Liberal Party within the European People’s Party, to support Romania during its term at the Presidency of the EU Council.

 

 

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