President Klaus Iohannis said on Tuesday he will do everything in his power to prevent democracy and the rule of law from being affected.
“A good share of our efforts is now directed at the successful exercise of our country’s Presidency of the Council of the EU. I was telling you at our meeting last year that in order for Romania’s foreign and European policy to perform well, the Romanian state must remain one in which liberal democracy and the rule of law are fully consolidated, with an independent and effective justice. These considerations now that we hold the EU Council Presidency remain valid more than ever, and I assure you that I will do everything in my power as President for these values not to be affected. I assure you that regardless of the very dynamic scene of the Romanian domestic politics, which you know very well, in terms of European affairs, all the decision-makers of Romania will act in a unified manner and as efficiently as possible so that the Presidency of the EU Council be conducted in the best possible conditions,” Iohannis said at his annual meeting with the heads of diplomatic missions accredited in Bucharest.
He conveyed to the foreign ambassadors his hope of strengthening their relations throughout 2019.
“I very much appreciate the good cooperation we have had so far and I hope we will continue to strengthen our relationships throughout 2019. As you well know, a good share of our efforts is at the moment directed at successfully exercising our country’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union,” the president said.
With regard to Brexit, the already endorsed agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU27 is the best tool to limit the negative consequences of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union
He also emphasized that during its term at the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Romania will make efforts to facilitate the adoption of the measures proposed by the European Commission regarding the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
“With regard to Brexit, the already endorsed agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU27 is the best tool to limit the negative consequences of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, for ensuring legal certainty for the business environment and for guaranteeing the rights of the citizens. Following the first rejection of this agreement in the British Parliament, in our capacity as the Presidency of the Council of the EU, we will take the necessary action – in every possible scenario – in coordination with the European institutions and the other member states. Thus, we will put in efforts to facilitate the adoption of the measures proposed by the European Commission, to make sure that the Union is properly prepared for the withdrawal of the UK, in any scenario. Protecting the rights of European citizens in the United Kingdom is the priority we have been pursuing in negotiations with London and we will further pursue this so that we reduce as much as possible the potential negative effects on the lives of European citizens, including, of course, Romanian citizens,” Iohannis said at his annual meeting with heads of foreign diplomatic missions accredited in Bucharest.
He specified that as the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Romania will make every effort to advance negotiations on migration.
“The safety of the citizens is a crucial element and, as the rotating Presidency, we will continue to work consistently towards strengthening the Union’s external borders and towards a rapid implementation of security instruments,” Klaus Iohannis said.
The President also emphasized that the exercise of the Presidency of the Council of the UE is also an opportunity for Romania to contribute to shaping the future of the European project, in order to promote a more cohesive and stronger Europe.
“The May 9 Sibiu Summit will be a key moment. In Sibiu we want to put forth a clear vision of the European Union’s priority lines of action, so as to make a significant contribution to defining the Strategic Agenda 2020 – 2024. We are also set to adopt a Political Declaration to reaffirm the member states’ solidarity and commitment to building an internally and globally stronger Union. It is essential that the priority agenda that will be discussed in Sibiu meets the citizens’ agenda, their legitimate expectations to benefit from concrete results,” Iohannis said.
According to the President, the reinforcement of the European project must be based on a unitary, inclusive and open approach for all EU Member States, while avoiding divisions.
Romania’s accession to Schengen remains priority
He maintained that Romania’s accession to Schengen remains a priority for our country.
“I reiterate that Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area is still a priority for us. We are convinced that this demarche can make a significant contribution to the consolidation of security for the entire EU free movement area,” Iohannis said at the annual meeting with the heads of diplomatic missions accredited in Bucharest.
Deepening partnership with US to remain priority for Romania’s foreign policy
“Deepening the partnership with the US will remain a priority for Romania’s foreign policy”, President Klaus Iohannis also declared on Tuesday.
“The deepening of the Strategic Partnership with the United States in all its fields, will remain a priority for Romania’s foreign policy. I take this opportunity to welcome the recognition of Romania’s effort to participate in the anti-missile NATO system, through the base in Deveselu, in the Missile Defense Review of the United States, recently presented by President Trump,” Iohannis said at his annual meeting with the heads of diplomatic missions accredited in Bucharest.
The head of state said that Romania will continue to support the strengthening of the Alliance and the strengthening of its coherence, including on the Eastern Flank.
“As far as NATO is concerned, this year marks an important moment – the 70th anniversary of the creation of the most powerful political-military alliance in history, but also 15 years since Romania’s accession to NATO. Romania will continue to support consolidating the Alliance and enhancing its coherence, including the coherence of the Eastern Flank. The anniversary summit at the end of this year will be a good opportunity for further progress in this direction, and Romania will act for this purpose in 2019,” Iohannis underscored.
The president mentioned that Romania will continue to allocate 2pct for defense spending.
In terms of regional cooperation, Iohannis has stated that Romania will continue to support the already established and successful formats.
Also, president Iohannis pointed out that the transatlantic partnership will remain a major priority of Romania, both during the presidency of the Council of the European Union and later, as it has been until now.
Romania has strong case for non-permanent seat in UN Security Council
President Klaus Iohannis also stated that Romania has a strong case for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
“I reiterate Romania’s support for multilateralism, support to the UN included. This lasting commitment to peace, justice and sustainable development is the essence of Romania’s message in its campaign for securing a position as a non-permanent member of the Security Council at the elections this year. I consider Romania’s candidacy to be a strong one, and I express my hope that the states you represent will invest their confidence in Romania on the occasion of the elections this June,” Iohannis said at the annual meeting with the heads of the foreign diplomatic missions to Bucharest.
Priority focus on Strategic Partnership for Moldova’s EU integration
The head of state used the opportunity to underline that Romania keeps priority focus on the Strategic Partnership for the European Integration of the Republic of Moldova and will “strongly encourage the continuation of reforms required for the neighbor country’s rapprochement to the Union.”
“I am equally convinced that in this period, more than ever, the European Union and the member states must continue, on the basis of the clear political commitment of Chisinau, their support and commitment towards the European integration of the Republic of Moldova,” Iohannis said at the annual meeting with the heads of diplomatic missions accredited in Bucharest.
Iohannis specified that in 2019 Romania will continue to deepen partnerships and strategic relations with France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Turkey or Japan and mentioned that the major lines for foreign policy action remain in place for the Western Balkans and the South Caucasus, Central Asia and the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Africa.
“There is a need for progress in the peace processes aimed at solving the conflicts in Libya, Syria, Yemen or in the Middle East Peace Process. Romania has and further asserts its support for a political settlement thereof, based on negotiations and in line with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and of the UN General Assembly,” the head of the state pointed out.