The Romanian presidency of the EU Council was headed by the government, and it was not dignitaries or diplomats of Romania that carried out the tenure, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said on Tuesday in a debate that assessed the Romanian presidency of the Council of the EU, organized at a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, in response to the criticism by PLUS MEP Dragos Tudorache.
“Romania’s functionaries or diplomats did not carry out the presidency. The presidency was headed by the Romanian government. At each meeting, a minister presided over the works; it was very good co-operation, for which I congratulated our experts, all those who got involved, who really acted for Romania, and not against Romania. A few minutes ago, someone asked me: do you think the Romanian MEPs will be united in bringing a gain to Romania’s picture? To which I said, yes. Now, I’m leaving a disappointed person, because with people like you we will not improve Romania’s image. Solve your problems at home; do not come with them at the European Parliament, because such things do not add to the image of our country,” Dancila said.
The prime minister pointed out that while many MEPs from other member states congratulated Romania, Tudorache criticised it.
“Moreover, everyone has congratulated the Romanian presidency; there were things that some of the MEPs thought we could have done better, but they did not criticise and you will not see here in Parliament many MEPs criticising their own country; but you did criticise yours when Vice-President of the European Commission [Maros Sevcovic] said: ‘Romania has a reason to celebrate.’ Moreover, I want to tell you that the European Union has no attributions related to health, education and culture, you should search that beforehand, it just comes up with projects, so you’ve also talked about three things that you do not know,” said Dancila.
She added that, in her opinion, MEP Tudorache is unaware of the achievements of the Romanian presidency of the EU Council.
“You do not know that a country cannot intervene while holding the presidency; it has to be a consensus builder, and that is what Romania did, and I would have been delighted if this project, which is very important to my country, important (…) to all European citizens had found consensus, because we found consensus with the European Commission, found consensus at the European Council, found consensus among many MEPs; I found consensus with the president of the European Parliament. We have all understood that the EU is at a turning point and if we fail to act united, we will not give a good sense to the European construction, and we have listened to all of the advice and together we have done all of these things. I believe they should guide us moving forward so that we may create added value. The citizens do not need scandal, the citizens need things to help them in their everyday lives, policies that are closer to them, instead of things that we bring up in public believing that we have more political significance,” Dancila said.
In his speech, MEP Tudorache said that Romania’s first presidency of the EU Council was one of “contrasts.”
“At a technical level, Romanian dignitaries and diplomats have managed to close 90 legislative and non-legislative files, which is why I would like to congratulate the professionals behind the scenes, those who are much too infrequently told ‘thank you’ for the work done in these six months. The same cannot be said about the political echelon of this presidency. I regret to say that the current Romanian government was too much concerned with the justice issues facing its leaders instead of ensuring an ambitious presidency. This lack of political ambition was doubled by anti-European and populist rhetoric on the part of the ruling parties. Fortunately, this rhetoric was drastically sanctioned by the Romanian citizens at the May 26 vote. Romania proved to be far more than the politicians who represent it,” said Tudorache.
He added that “Romania means the citizens who stood in long lines to vote for a European Romania.”
“Certainly, they deserved more from this opportunity, which comes once in 14 years. After this presidency, the Council, politically speaking, still has outstanding sensitive and very important files that it has not been able to advance on over the last few months. I would mention here only three of them. Firstly, discussions of the Multiannual Financial Framework have to be unblocked, because it is not acceptable to repeat the mistake of the previous financial framework, when a delayed adoption led to postponing national partnerships and negatively affected the end beneficiaries. We need to provide enough resources for agricultural policy and for a cohesion policy to ensure real convergence between the East and West of the continent. We need more Europe in health and education both with regard to the allocation of funds and the adoption of minimum quality standards at European level,” Tudorache argued.
The need to unblock as soon as possible the appointment of the chief prosecutor of the European Prosecutor’s Office was another topic addressed by the PLUS representative.
“Blocking the appointment was a political move, and unblocking it must also be a thing of political will. I expect the Finnish presidency to come to the negotiating table with Parliament as soon as possible in order to reach an agreement,” Tudorache said.