At the summit in Sibiu on Thursday, EU leaders unanimously agreed on 10 commitments, including defending “one Europe”, a Europe that will be “a responsible global leader.”
“We reaffirm our belief that united, we are stronger in this increasingly unsettled and challenging world. We recognise our responsibility as Leaders to make our Union stronger and our future brighter, while recognising the European perspective of other European States. That is why today we unanimously agree on 10 commitments that will help us live up to that responsibility,” says the Sibiu Declaration, posted on the European Council’s website.
The 10 commitments regard defending one Europe; staying united, through thick and thin; always looking for joint solutions; continuing to protect the way of life, democracy and the rule of law; delivering where it matters most; always upholding the principle of fairness; giving the means to match ambitions; safeguarding the future for the next generations of Europeans, thriving for Europe to be a responsible global leader.
We will defend one Europe – from East to West, from North to South. Thirty years ago millions of people fought for their freedom and for unity and brought down the Iron Curtain, which had divided Europe for decades. There is no place for divisions that work against our collective interest.
At the same time, they will stay united, “through thick and thin.”
“We will show each other solidarity in times of need and we will always stand together. We can and we will speak with one voice,” according to the EU leaders.
The signatories of the Sibiu Declaration also indicate they will always look for joint solutions, listening to each other in a spirit of understanding and respect.
“We will continue to protect our way of life, democracy and the rule of law. The unalienable rights and the fundamental freedoms of all Europeans were hard fought and will never be taken for granted. We will uphold our shared values and principles enshrined in the treaties,” the leaders add.
The commitments are said to help the EU leaders live up to their responsibility: “The decisions we take will follow the spirit and letter of these 10 commitments. The Union of today is stronger than that of yesterday and we want to continue to build its strength for tomorrow. This is our commitment for the future generations. This is the spirit of Sibiu and of a new Union at 27 ready to embrace its future as one.”
EU leaders welcomed with flags and cheers while touring downtown Sibiu
The European Union leaders who came to the informal Summit were welcomed with flags and cheers in the Great Square of Sibiu and after they had the family photograph taken on a podium covered with a giant carpet depicting the EU flag, the Brussels leaders and the heads of state of the community bloc headed toward the crowd who chanted “Europe!.”
In the first part of the ceremony held on Thursday, the cars of the heads of state and government started to arrive in downtown Sibiu, with the leaders being greeted by President Klaus Iohannis.
On either side of Nicolae Balcescu Boulevard, next to the small fences and waving flags with the logo of the Romanian Presidency at the EU Council or flags of the EU and Romania, the curious people awaited those who lead the European states.
When German Chancellor Angela Merkel got out of the official car, she was cheered and applauded. Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel was more nonchalant. On his way to the Great Square, he stopped to shake the hands of some people, with whom he exchanged a few words.
In order to enter the perimeter designated to the event, some people had to wait for good minutes to pass through security filters.
On the red carpet, the European leaders who arrived in Sibiu talked about what kind of European Union they want, about the future elections to the European Parliament, but also about the idea of an Europe that protects. In fact, France’s President Emmanuel Macron mentioned one of his favourite projects – a rethought Schengen.
The EU leaders attended on Thursday a first round of the informal meeting of the European Council with President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani.
The official outdoor photograph was up next, after which all the attendees went to the Brukenthal Museum for a working lunch, which will be followed by a second working session of the informal Summit of the EU leaders.
At the end of talks, they presented the “Sibiu Declaration,” a document labelled in the speeches of several EU leaders as being an “ambitious” one.