Prime Minister Viorica Dancila Friday stated having reiterated in the discussions with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker confidence in a close cooperation and a constructive dialogue and gave assurances that Romania is determined to contribute to the achievement of positive results throughout its EU Council presidency term, so as to respond to the current challenges the Union is facing.
“Today’s visit is also a symbolic moment for Romania, which paves the way for our cooperation in a new perspective – the presidency of the EU Council. As such, we will continue to work together to achieve the common goal of strengthening the European project. Today with President Juncker, we reiterated our confidence in close cooperation and constructive dialogue following of the good cooperation we have had with the European Commission over the last few months. I also expressed the hope that our joint efforts and our mutual support will facilitate the achievement of the desired results at the end of our presidency of the EU Council and, of course, at the end of the mandate of the current European Commission,” the prime minister told a press conference at the end of the visit of the College of Commissioners to the Victoria Palace, held alongside EC President Jean-Claude Juncker who came to Bucharest to mark the inauguration of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Dancila added that the European Commission’s consistent approach and initiatives to achieve a stronger and more efficient Union in attaining tangible results for all European citizens fully correspond to the vision and objectives that Romania wants to promote during its presidency of the EU Council.
“We have assured President Juncker that we will maintain this approach. We are fully aware of the stakes, especially in this evolving European landscape, and we are firmly committed to contributing as a facilitator of consensus through concrete actions to promote a more united Europe. Such an approach is needed, all the more so as we have to manage a highly complex European agenda of the themes of the moment. The debates on the future of Europe, the future elections to the European Parliament, the negotiation of the multiannual financial framework 2021-2027 and Brexit are just a few of the major elements and events that define the framework of our presidency of the EU Council. I assure President Juncker that we are determined to contribute to the achievement of positive results, to strengthening the EU unit, so as to respond to the current challenges the European Union is facing,” the prime minister also said.
Premier Dancila added that Romania aims at a realistic and pragmatic presidency.
“We are exercising the presidency of the EU Council during the final stage of European legislature, the last presidency before the elections to the European Parliament in May, the last presidency before the end of the mandate of the current commission, and we will focus on ensuring the continuity of the European agenda and providing the basis for the transition towards the future European Parliament and the future European Commission,” the premier also said.
“No echo for anti-European rhetoric among population if Brussels adequately responds to challenges”
Anti-European rhetoric gets no echo among the population if Brussels responds adequately to the challenges faced by the European Union, Premier Viorica Dancila said on Friday during a press conference in Bucharest delivered jointly with President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.
“I consider that anti-European messages get no echo among the population if the European institutions, if Brussels responds adequately to the challenges we are facing. This is why we want, together with the Commission and with the Council, to deliver responses as close to the citizens as possible, so that we show that the only way is the pro-European one. (…) I think the manner we respond to the existing challenges, the way European citizens find themselves in the policies we will adopt, is highly important. And then I think that no anti-European message will get an echo. This is what we set ourselves as a goal, this is why we have chosen cohesion as a common European value in the program of Romania’s Presidency of the EU Council, precisely in order to have the same response, the same treatment for all EU member countries and all European citizens. And I believe that in order to not give rise to extremism, to not trigger new anti-European responses we must mobilize to provide adequate responses, the ones the Romanian citizens and the European citizens expect,” said Premier Viorica Dancila at the Victoria Palace of Government when asked what the Romanian and the European institutions could do regarding the anti-European rhetoric that emerged lately in the Romanian space and how worrying this is.
Answering the same question, President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, expressed his hope that the Romanian Presidency will be the one to prove that the EU must no longer handle member states in a differentiated manner.
“The Romanian government knows it and the Romanian people will soon learn that we must work together with the Romanian Presidency as an ideal couple. And I am convinced that Mrs. Prime Minister will make a major contribution to this. I am never surprised when the Commission comes under fire. This happens routinely. The Commission has somehow to deal with all the problems that arise and I would like the belief to no longer dwell in Romania that we have two Europes, ie the so-called Western Europe and the Eastern Europe, specifically the member states that have joined from 2004 onwards. I would like Romania’s tenure of the Presidency to be the one when we prove once and for all that the EU must no longer have a different behavior towards the member states; the Commission, the EP, and their members speak in a nuanced manner about what is being done in member states and sometimes this can be considered a sign of division. But as a matter of fact, the Commission, without exception, considers all the states are equal”, said the top European official.
Romanian presidency of EU Council, to try to achieve consensus on multi-annual financial framework
The Romanian presidency of the Council of the European Union will try to achieve consensus among the member states on the multi-annual financial framework and takes into account “small but solid steps” in view of this political agreement, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila Friday told a press conference at Victoria Palace, held alongside the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.
Premier Dancila was asked by foreign journalists how the issue of the negotiations on the multi-annual financial framework will be addressed, given that the “legislative window” is rather narrow by the loss of a major net contributor, the United Kingdom, and also how she will promote the Romanian presidency, having as its main objective cohesion at EU level, in the context of some countries announcing that they refuse to contribute more to cover the “hole” left by Brexit.
“I know that there are divergent views on the multi-annual financial framework. In my speech, I have precisely pointed out that, depending on how we are dealing with the multi-annual financial framework, it will reflect in the cohesion policy, the common agricultural policy, traditional EU policies. As we know, at the last European Council it was decided to have a political agreement in October on the multi-annual financial framework. We do not have to wait for October, we need to take into account small but solid steps to take in view of this political agreement,” Dancila said.
She stressed that for Romania the interval within which this political agreement is to be achieved is not the only important thing, but what the multi-annual financial framework contains.
“We can achieve a political agreement in a shorter time, but which does not reflect what we all want, a strong cohesion policy, a strong common agricultural policy and in which to find all the other policies, I mean the policy of defense, the migration policy, the single market, terrorism and other policies of European interest, It is therefore important for us what the multi-annual financial framework will contain, more than the interval within which we can obtain a political agreement. Certainly, we will have discussions with all the Member States during the six-month term, we will be an impartial mediator and we will try to achieve consensus on the multi-annual financial framework,” Viorica Dancila said.
Juncker: I hope Romania joins Schengen during this Commission’s term
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker voiced hope Friday that Romania will become a member of the Schengen area by the end of this Commission’s term.
“We, the commissioners, are treated like some princes here in Bucharest, everything is perfectly organized, which is auspicious for the continuation of the events. (…) If I could express a wish, it would be that during this Commission’s term Romania join the Schengen area. I cannot see any reason why some governments are so stubbornly against this. We are in touch with the most recalcitrant and we are trying to convince them to say ‘yes’ to Romania’s accession to Schengen. (…) I would like to end my office by making Romania a member of the Schengen area and putting an end to the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism,” the EC president said on Friday at the end of the talks at Victoria Palace with Prime Minister Viorica Dancila.
He brought to mind that he pledged to the European Parliament in 2014 to end the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism and that he remains faithful to this promise, “provided that all efforts are made at the level of Romania and at European level for things to be carried out in good conditions.”
Asked if he has a dialogue with the Dutch prime minister on the possible accession of Romania to Schengen, the president of the European Commission said: “I am in permanent dialogue.” “He knows what I think and knows that I expect him to make progress in the Netherlands, but also in other parts on this matter,” Juncker said.
“When at helm of European Union, one must put own opinions aside”
The Romanian presidency of the Council of the European Union entails that opinions on domestic policy be put “aside”, on Friday said the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, who confessed in a joint press conference with the Romanian Prime minister Viorica Dancila, that he trusts the Romanian Premier in this matter.
“I’ve returned to Romania (…) to tell the Romanian authorities to put an end to the domestic dissensions in Romania. When at the helm of the European Union, one must put aside own opinions, the domestic policy issues, and I’ve heard Mrs. Prime minister confirm that her strong wish is not to cast a shadow on the Romanian presidency, by exporting to Europe the internal issues that might exist,” the high European official stressed.
Juncker said he trusts the Bucharest government’s head, that he trusts her ability to successfully lead the works of the Council, knowing she has a deep commitment towards the European idea.
Jean-Claude Juncker told the Romanian Prime minister “I have full confidence in you, Viorica, to do whatever it takes for this first Romanian presidency to move forward”.
“I welcome Romanian Government’s efforts, who agreed to host number of refugees”
EC President told a joint press conference with Prime Minister Viorica Dancila on Friday that he appreciates the efforts of the Romanian Government to host a number of refugees and migrants.
If the member states had adopted all the proposals on migration in the form published by the Commission, we would not be in the situation we are in every month, every week, every day, and so I welcome the efforts of the Romanian Government, of the Prime Minister of Romania, who agreed to host a number of refugees and migrants on its territory. It is a good decision, the European official said.
“We keep in touch with British PM Cabinet, but do not mistake this for a re-negotiation”
The head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, on Friday stated during a press conference held jointly with President Klaus Iohannis at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace, that the EC representatives are always keeping in touch with the British PM Cabinet, but this must not be mistaken for a re-negotiation.
“I don’t want to make speculations right now, in what concerns mutuality. The Commission said that there won’t be any re-negotiations. We said that we can provide clarifications. Of course that we are permanently in touch with the British PM Cabinet, but please do not mistake this for a re-negotiation, especially in what concerns the backstop. I don’t think that it would be wise to give now all the details of the ongoing discussions,” he said.
Juncker brought to mind that on January 15 it will be submitted to vote in the House of Commons, according to Brexit.
“I hope that we agree, I don’t want an exit of the UK without an agreement, for this would be catastrophic for the British citizens and for the entire European continent all the same. Which is why we must continue all efforts until Tuesday, when the British Parliament will have its vote, in order for this project to not fail,” he said.
Juncker specified that, together with President Klaus Iohannis, they agreed on a “very good” preparation of the meeting of the European Council in Sibiu, on May 9. He added that this will be a meeting “dedicated to stability,” considering that by this time the United Kingdom will leave the EU.
“We must prove everybody and to all those who watch us from outside, that the EU is relaunching now, it has a new beginning, a new stage in its long history, which has never been too peaceful. The Romanian presidency will bring results,” stated the President of the EC.