Europe has always known to overcome obstacles and be born again after the less fortunate episodes in history, PM Viorica Dancila said in Strasbourg on Tuesday, adding that “it is important to show the European citizens that the EU institutions work for them.”
The Romanian Prime Minister presented before the European Parliament gathered in plenary session in Strasbourg the priorities of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
“I am honoured to be here today before you as Romania’s Prime Minister. We have taken over the European mandate from Austria and I would like to reiterate on this occasion my thanks to the Austrian Presidency. At the same time, I insist on thanking our partners in the trio, Finland and Croatia, with whom we have had a very good coordination in preparing a balanced common programme for the next 18 months. In continuation, I will present you the Romanian EU Council Presidency’s priorities and its vision for the Union’s future. Ladies and gentlemen, Europe has always known to overcome obstacles and be born again after the less fortunate episodes in history. The European project itself in its current form has been shaped by the multiple crises it went through. Today we are again facing a complex moment in the process of European construction. However, as you well-know, any situation of this kind can be turned into an opportunity, in a new beginning,” Dancila said.
The Romanian PM underscored that in her vision the EU Council Presidency exercise isn’t just a formal duty and that “it is important to show the European citizens that the EU institutions work for them.”
Also attending the meeting at the European Parliament are Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Melescanu, Minister-delegate for European Affairs George Ciamba, European Funds Minister Rovana Plumb, Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici, Labour and Social Justice Minister Marius Budai and Interior Minister Carmen Dan.
Our vision on European project, structured around cohesion as European common value
The vision of Romania’s Presidency at the EU Council on the European project is structured around the idea of cohesion as a European common value inflected in all its dimensions, political cohesion illustrated by the need for unity among member states, economic and territorial cohesion aimed at reducing the development gaps among member states and regions, social cohesion, important through the perspective of preserving the four freedoms of the domestic market of the European Union, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said in Strasbourg on Tuesday, presenting Romania’s priorities for the EU Council Presidency before the European Parliament plenary session.
“This accepted meaning of the concept of cohesion is transposed of a transversal manner within our thematic priorities divided in four main action pillars – Europe of convergence, Europe of security, Europe – a global player, and Europe of common values,” the Romanian PM said.
According to her, Europe has always known to overcome obstacles and be reborn after the less fortunate episodes of history and the European project itself in its current form has been shaped by the multiple crises it went through. “Today we are again facing a complex moment of the process of European construction. However, as you very well know, any situation of this kind can be turned into an opportunity, in a new beginning,” Dancila went on.
The first action pillar of the Romanian Presidency at the EU Council is “Europe of convergence,” which is aimed at ensuring economic growth, social development, reducing gaps, competitiveness, connectivity and sustainability. “The single market is, of course, the greatest achievement of the Union, the nucleus of the European construction. As such, one of the objectives of Romania’s Presidency is to promote the legislative agenda in the domestic market area, in view to finalise the necessary framework for a good functioning. We must consolidate the scientific and technological foundation of European industry, through which we can stimulate our competitiveness on an international level, and, at the same time, we can generate economic growth and jobs. We shall continue to promote digitisation, including in the area of European industry. The digital progress has already been promoted by the previous presidencies, Estonian and Austrian, of the EU Council, and we’ll seek, in our turn, to continue to work at the same high pace,” the Romanian PM said.
Viorica Dancila mentioned that the Romanian Presidency at the EU Council will have in view the development of the functional connections between the East and the West, between the North and the South, meant to facilitate all kinds of connections, for making operational the four freedoms of movement and for increasing the competitiveness of the European economic and the standard of living in the less developed regions. “I was telling you about the need for a long-term policy in the industrial area, and as important is the Energy Union regulation. These two themes will take a significant spot on our presidency’s agenda,” the head of the Government in Bucharest said.
The second pillar of the Romanian Presidency at the EU Council will be represented by “Europe of convergence,” said the Romanian PM in the EP plenary session. “We are facing some security challenges threatening the citizen’s security. The European Union is confronted with a wide range of risks and threats that can undermine the values and prosperity of our open societies. In a world of fast-paced digitisation, we must advance in respect to protecting the citizens in the virtual space. It is necessary to consolidate the resilience of the Union to cyber attacks. Therefore, cyber security will represent a mandatory requirement for any project referring to the information society,” she mentioned.
Another aspect referring to the EU security, which Romania, as EU Council Presidency, will grant attention to will be, according to Dancila, the negotiation and completion of the initiatives on the coherent management of migration flows, the EU’s external borders strengthening, the emergency interventions, the fight against terrorism, the protection of the security of the citizens in the virtual space, making operational and enlarging the mandate of the European prosecutor’s office to terrorism crimes, as well as the consolidation of the judicial cooperation in terms of civil and criminal law. “We wish to contribute to drawing up viable solutions in these areas related to migration and to promote the cooperation among origin and transit states, including in terms of human trafficking combat,” the Romanian Prime Minister said.
The third pillar of the activity of the Romanian Presidency at the EU Council is “Europe, a global player,” having the main action direction starting from the common commitments assumed under the Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union.
“In terms of security policy, we’ll endorse strengthening the EU’s defence and security capabilities, in close complementarity with the similar processes inside NATO. At the same time, we must direct our attention to our immediate vicinity, which entails promoting the Union’s enlargement policy. The ten year anniversary of the Eastern Partnership this year will represent an important moment in this respect. A special attention, nevertheless, must be granted to the Western Balkans,” PM Dancila said.
The fourth pillar of Romania’s exercising the EU Council Presidency will be “Europe of common values.” In this respect, the Romanian PM said that “in order to stimulate the European political cohesion, we plan on intensely promoting the principles and values that unite us.” “At the same time, we must firmly combat a series of problems societies inside the Union are still confronted with, such as racism, intolerance, xenophobia, populism, antisemitism, or the hate speech. We wish a more democratic Union, therefore we shall endorse the equality of treatment that all member states and all European citizens desire. This aspect is essential for the citizens’ confidence in the European project. I am telling this from the perspective of the Romanian citizens whom I represent as Prime Minister and who, in spite of their very powerful attachment to the Union, feel an unequal treatment towards Romania, mainly when our country is criticised for aspects that are natural in other member states or when Romania is imposed certain conditionality that do not exist in other EU states,” the Romanian PM also said before the European Parliament.
European project, shaped by multiple crises it went through
The European project, in its current form, has been shaped by the multiple crises it went through, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said in Strasbourg on Tuesday, while presenting in the European Parliament’s joint plenary session Romania’s priorities for the Presidency at the Council of the European Union, with a focus on cohesion and common values, security and the consolidation of Europe as a global player.
“Romania’s exercising the rotating presidency over the next six months isn’t just a formal duty,” the Romanian PM said, voicing herself aware of the fact that the first stage of this presidency “will be intense and reduced as time span” in respect to the decision-making process.
Romanian PM underscores in EP plenary sitting importance of putting citizens’ interests first in making EU decisions
The Romanian PM Viorica Dancila on Tuesday underscored, in Strasbourg, the importance of putting citizens’ interests first in making decisions at EU level and the need of eliminating any form of differentiated treatment, so that the common European values be strengthened.
The head of the Romanian Executive presented in the plenary sitting of th European Parliament in Strasbourg the priorities of the Romanian presidency at the Council of the EU, as our country is leading this forum’s work in the first semester of this year.
“We want a more democratic Union, so that we are going to promote the equal treatment all the member states and all the European citizens aspire to. This is an essential aspects in gaining the citizens’ trust in the European project. And I’m telling you this from the perspective of the Romanian citizens whom I represent in my capacity as Prime Minister and who, despite their very strong attachment to the Union, feel that Romania is treated unequally, especially when our country is being criticized for aspects that are natural in other member states or when Romania is imposed to meet certain conditionalities that other EU member states are not force to meet. Romanians feel that they are treated unequally when they see that our country is left outside the Schengen Space and I want to thank Mr. President (of the European Commission – editor’s note) Jean-Claude Juncker and Mr. President (of the European Parliament – editor’s note) Antonio Tajani for their total support they are giving to us in our aspiration to the Schengen Space. I gave you these examples from my country in order for you to understand that certain decision that are made at the European level regarding some member states in the end have an impact on the citizens in these states and determine, in one way or the other, the trust they have in the Union. Which is why we need to always think of the citizens in the targeted member states when making our decisions and to eliminate any form of differentiated treatment, so that we can strengthen the common EU values,” said Dancila.
She also wanted to emphasize the role of education and cultural in shaping the European future, both from the individual perspective of the European citizen and from the perspective of strengthening the European project, and also the importance of finding new solutions in involving the young in shaping a stronger Europe, based on common values.
On the other hand, PM Dancila mentioned that Brexit is the centre of attention during the Romanian presidency of the Council of the EU. “In May, our democracy – the biggest transnational democracy – is going to elect a new European Parliament. My proposal is to capitalize on the future electoral context, as this is a chance for us, the ones who believe in Europe, to promote a Union that is more oriented to its founding principles, according to our European spirit,” added the head of the government in Bucharest.
“I believe in a stronger Europe – through unity, in a better Europe – through the achievement of our commitments to its citizens and at a global level and, why not, I believe in a Europe that is more European – through the promotion of the authentic European values and through stimulating the citizens’ feeling of belonging to the European space. A stronger Europe, united in all its dimensions – political, economic, social – represents the best solution for the future European project,” the Romanian PM also states.