Romania marks on Thursday its taking over the presidency of the Council of the European Union through a ceremony organised at the Romanian Athenaeum, to be attended by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, and Romania’s Prime Minister Viorica Dancila.
All the four dignitaries will deliver speeches before the inaugural concert to take place on the stage of the Athenaeum.
The concert will be performed by the European Union Orchestra, made of musicians from the 28 EU states and internationally renowned Romanian artists, such as Adela Zaharia, Ruxandra Donose, Michael Konig, Sorin Colban and the Choir of the “George Enescu” Philharmonic. The conductor of the concert will be Ion Marin, while the choir is coordinated by Ion Iosif Prunner.
Another inaugural concert for the Romanian Presidency of the Council of EU will be held in Brussels, on January 24, at the Bozar Centre. On that occasion, the Romanian Youth Orchestra led by Cristian Mandeal will present a repertoire including works by George Enescu, Theodor Rogalski, Grigoras Dinicu, George Grigoriu and Eugen Doga.
Prime Minister Viorica Dancila stated that the official launch of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of EU takes place in two symbolic buildings for Romania – the Romanian Athenaeum and the Victoria Palace.
“I assure you that we will play our role of an impartial mediator, of a consensus facilitator, and that we will have as priorities the challenges existing on European level. (…) Moreover, I want to assure you that each Minister of the Cabinet has the European files on his/her work table and that, starting with 21 this month, they will go to the specialist commissions of the European Parliament,” Dancila also said.
“The most difficult file is the Multiannual Financial Framework”
Prime Minister Viorica Dancila on Thursday stated that the most difficult file that Romania will have to deal with while holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union is the Multiannual Financial Framework.
“Definitely, the Multiannual Financial Framework (the most difficult file to be managed while Romania is holding the presidency of the Council of EU – editor’s note), because on the manner in which we are going to manage this file, on the manner in which we will manage to get to an agreement on this framework, depend the other policies too, be them the traditional policies – and I mean here the common agricultural policy or the cohesion policy – , or immigration, asylum, foreign affairs, all that we are going to decide for the next period and will have an impact on each member state depends on the manner in which we manage the Multiannual Financial Framework. But of course that we also have other policies and challenges that we must respond to – and I mean here the Brexit, the future of the EU post-Brexit – which are very important files, over which we will need to reach a consensus among the member states,” Dancila told Radio Romania Actualitati radio station, when asked what is the most important file to be dealt with in the next six months.
Dancila also mentioned that the legislative procedure during the period when Romania is holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU will be shorter, in the context of the elections to the European Parliament, whereas the large number of files that need to be concluded puts a big pressure on the Presidency exercised by Romania.
“There is political will from the European institutions and definitely from the member states to finalize as many files as possible by the end of this legislative cycle, for we must not forget that Romania completes the Strategic Agenda for 2014-2019. (…) And besides the already existing themes, there can also appear other themes too, the so-called crisis situations, which we also must react to. Such situations are tough to deal with no matter which country is holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU, be it a newer or an older member state. We hope that we will handle everything with professionalism, pragmatism, while always trying to reach a consensus, regardless of the topic that could appear on the table of negotiations that we are going to manage,” said the Prime Minister.
PM Viorica Dancila specified that she doesn’t believe that a consensus can be reached on the Multiannual Financial Framework.
“No. Our approach is ambitious, but also realistic. I said that I hope we will make important steps ahead, but I don’t think that we will be able to reach a political agreement, for their is a division of opinions among the member states related to this aspect and the meeting of the Council of the EU of December 2018 highlighted this division,” said the Prime Minister.
“Regardless of scenario of Brexit negotiations, citizens must remain the priority”
Prime Minister Viorica Dancila on Thursday said that, regardless of the scenario in which the negotiations on Brexit with the UK take place, the EU’s priority must remain the protection of the rights of the European citizens who live, work or study in the UK.
“We respect the UK’s decision of pulling out of the European Union, but we must make sure, at the same time, we limit the negative consequences generated by this withdrawal. The most efficient instrument in this respect is the withdrawal agreement reached on a political level by the EU leaders and PM Theresa May, which represents a fair and balanced compromise. The agreement obtained will ensure the legal certainty both for the business environment and for the citizens, whom it guarantees the preservation of the rights they are enjoying at present. The priority of the Union in these negotiations has been the protection of the rights of European citizens, including, of course, Romanians, who live, work or study in the UK. I believe in the coming period, too, the citizens must remain our priority, and our goal should be that, regardless of the scenario in which the negotiations advance, we should minimise as much as possible the negative effects on their lives,” Dancila told Radio Romania Actualitati.
The PM said that also supported must be the efforts of the European Commission, the Brexit chief-negotiator and other European institutions to “ensure the necessary institutional framework in any of the scenarios that could materialise in the coming period.”
“I believe maintaining the unity of the member states around the principles established on the EU level remains an objective in this file and in this respect we shall create the proper framework for facilitating dialogue among the member states, EU 27 this time, concerning the path to follow in the coming period. Coming back to the citizens, I emphasise the special importance that Romania grants to the mobility topic, in particular to observing the principles of reciprocity and non-discrimination among the member states. In this context, in the discussions on the future relations EU – UK, Romania will endorse a very ambitious approach regarding the future cooperation in this area, in particular in what concerns the continuation of enforcing the principles of coordinating the social security systems. I am positive that this aspect would be both to the benefit of EU citizens in the UK and British citizens settled in EU member states,” Dancila maintained.