European Affairs Minister George Ciamba announced on Tuesday, at the General Affairs Council meeting in Brussels, that the Romanian presidency of the Council of the EU will centre on four action pillars – convergence, security, consolidation and common European values.
The Romanian official chaired the General Affairs Council meeting and presented the priorities of the Presidency of the Council of the EU and the stage of the talks on the multiannual financial framework.
“The first Romanian presidency starts in a political context full of challenges at European and international level. Basically, we are a presidency of transition between various institutional cycles and we will handle files such as the MFM (Multiannual Financial Framework – editor’s note), Brexit, European elections. We will also get involved in the process of reflection vis-à-vis the future of Europe. We are subjected to considerable pressure during the semester of our presidency, but also in the future, and we must do everything in our power for these files to be finalised to our advantage, the advantage of us all, even though we are facing a lot of pressure and problems, because everything depends on our will as member states. And the task of the presidency is to act as an honest mediator. And we believe cohesion is the way to follow, as we have already stated,” European Affairs Minister George Ciamba stated on Tuesday at the start of the General Affairs Council meeting in Brussels.
The European Affairs Minister pointed out that the motto of the Romanian presidency of the Council of the European Union is “cohesion.”
“Cohesion is the motto of our presidency and by that we understand cohesion in all of its dimensions. We must consolidate the cohesion of the political actions in order to consolidate the links between member states, European institutions and European citizens. Then we must consolidate from the economic standpoint of cohesion, as a catalyst of recovery, of eliminating the differences between member states. And, likewise, we must consolidate the single market. Then the social dimension of cohesion,” Ciamba added.
According to the European Affairs Minister, the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU has priorities on 4 action pillars: Europe of Convergence, Europe of Security, Europe as a stronger global actor and the Europe of Shared Values.
George Ciamba partially detailed the four action pillars of the Romanian presidency of the Council of the EU.
“Several elements regarding the four action pillars:
- Europe of Convergence – we want to contribute to European coherence and cohesion. We want equal and sustainable opportunities for everyone and for all European citizens. Creating jobs.
- Europe of Safety – we want to create a safer Europe through growing cohesion between member states. We must live up to the new security challenges that threaten the safety of European citizens and we want to support initiatives of cooperation in this field.
- Europe as a stronger global player – we want to consolidate the global role that the EU has, to promote the EU’s enlargement policy and to ensure that Europe plays a more active role in Africa and South-East Asia.
- The Europe of shared values – we want to stimulate the solidarity and cohesion of some policies such as those against discrimination, those ensuring equality of chances, equal treatment for men and women. Likewise, we want even greater involvement on the part of citizens, especially the youth, in European topics.”
The European Affairs Minister mentioned that the Sibiu Summit, which will take place on May 9, is meant to issue a message of “unity” at European level.
“Elections will take place at European level in May and we will try to finalise as many legislative files as possible. In the first months of our mandate, we will also continue on the margin of the other files that do not have a legislative character. We will also have the informal summit in Sibiu. (…) With that event we wish to issue a message of unity at the level of the Union.”
Next multi-annual financial framework, the main subject of GAC meeting
The most important subject discussed at the General Affairs Council (GAC) meeting this Tuesday was the multi-annual financial framework, Minister Delegate for European Affairs George Ciamba, who chaired the meeting, told a media briefing. He pointed out that Romania will spare no effort to provide a basis for an agreement on this topic in autumn.
The most important issue we tackled today was the next multi-annual financial framework, which is a strategic file for our Presidency. We once again expressed the ambition to deliver. I believe that the European Council has set the deadline for this autumn, but this does not mean that we should be less ambitious. I consider we must do everything possible, Ciamba told a press conference in Brussels. “We want to prepare a basis for an agreement in autumn 2019,” he said.
Ciamba also spoke about Romania’s approach of the Presidency of the Council of the EU: I emphasized that we will work like a neutral broker to rise to expectations, we want to preserve unity and cohesion in the Union in a dynamic period that is marked by challenges – the Brexit, but at the same time by the bridge in between institutional cycles.
The Romanian official mentioned the Sibiu Summit due to take place during the Romanian Presidency, adding that disinformation was also a topic discussed at Tuesday’s CAG meeting.
Disinformation has become one of the greatest challenges to our democracies. In order to be effective, we need joint efforts of the EU member states and of the civil society, Minister Delegate for European Affairs Ciamba pointed out, adding that action is particularly urgent ahead of the 2019 EP elections, in order to protect them against ‘outside influences’, but that a longer term strategy needs to be developed, in full respect of fundamental rights.
The legislative cycle ends with our term and this is why we must be very ambitious. We must be realistic, but it is very important to advance and close as many files as possible in the next few weeks. (…) We want to work with determination, optimism and realism at the same time, Ciamba concluded.