DIPLOMACY POLITICS

President Iohannis: I have differences of opinion with the Gov’t, but not in the field of preparing the Presidency of the Council of the EU

President Klaus Iohannis stated on Sunday, in Brussels, that even though he has several differences of opinion with the Government, Romania’s preparations for the takeover of the Presidency of the Council of the EU is not among them, pointing out that he does not intend to export internal disagreements.

“Everything they do for this Presidency is much better. People understand we want to have a successful Presidency. Of course they have concerns, they felt work is still needed until it functions, but I’m really more optimistic than I was several weeks ago. I have differences of opinion with our Government in very many fields, but not in the field of European affairs and not in the field of preparing the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU. We must understand that political fighting is one thing, this is the desire to be successful for the Presidency of the Council of the EU. We are collaborating for the Presidency. I do not intend to transfer the differences in foreign policy for the Presidency and I don’t believe that is the Government’s intention,” President Klaus Iohanis stated at the end of the European Council summit that took place on Sunday in Brussels.

The Head of State added that he received signals from European officials that things are moving well in the field of Romania’s takeover of the Presidency of the Council of the EU.

“I was told in Brussels that things are moving in the field of the practical and logistical preparations. We were behind schedule with several logistical matters, things that had to work on day one, and I was assured that most have been unblocked by the new minister and things are going in a good direction,” Iohannis explained.

The Romanian President added that he does not want to make any comments on the activity of former European Affairs Minister Victor Negrescu, who has resigned, but pointed out that things are better at present.

“I don’t want to appraise Negrescu’s work, but it’s much better now,” the Head of State concluded.

On November 12, Klaus Iohannis stated that Romania is not ready to take over the Council of the European Union, considering that the responsible members of Government are leaving or are being replaced and “things have gone haywire.”

In response, Premier Viorica Dancila stated that the President has made a personal obsession out of toppling the incumbent Cabinet. She called on Klaus Iohannis to stop making such statements.

Minister Delegate for European Affairs Victor Negrescu has recently resigned, being replaced by George Ciamba. On November 14, at the swearing-in ceremony, Klaus Iohannis told the members of Government and the Prime Minister, who were in attendance, that a reasonable preparation for the presidency of the Council of the EU can still take place.

 

“I assured the Finnish Premier that he won’t get the Presidency on January 1”

 

Klaus Iohannis stated on Sunday, at the European Council, that he talked with Finnish Premier Juha Sipila, telling him that he will not get the Presidency of the Council of the EU on January 1, pointing out that they both laughed and the foreign official accepted that.

Asked, at the end of the European Council summit, for his comment on the Finnish Premier’s statement, through which he expressed Finland’s openness to start its Council of the EU presidency in January 2019, Klaus Iohannis said: “It’s a press story. (…) You probably know that within the European Council I sit next to the Finnish Premier, and today I assured him that he will not get the Presidency on January 1, and we both laughed, and he accepted that. So those things lack real grounds. It was a reaction generated by someone from the Finnish press, without there being real grounds for this sort of thing. They are our friends and we will move forward together.”

The Head of State’s reaction comes against the backdrop in which Finnish Premier Juha Sipila proposed, on November 13, that Finland should take over the Presidency of the Council of the EU in Romania’s place. Bucharest stated that that is not necessary.

Against the backdrop of political tensions in Romania and of President Klaus Iohannis’s statement that our country is not ready to take over the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Finnish Premier Juha Sipila expressed the Finnish Government’s openness to start its Council of the EU Presidency in January 2019.

Juha Sipila emphasised that Bucharest did not make that request, pointing out that, on the contrary, the Romanian Government confirmed that it will take over the Presidency of the Council of the EU as scheduled, the STT press agency and the YLE station informed.

Romania is scheduled to hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2019, for six months, and Finland to do so in the second half of the year.

 

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