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President Iohannis in Brussels: I am determined to negotiate really hard to get more money for Romania

President Klaus Iohannis on Friday stated he is determined to negotiate “really hard” to get more money for Romania from the cohesion and agricultural funds, from the multiannual budget of the European Union.

“The idea is to identify a common ground in these discussions on the multiannual budget. I come with the ideas I thought about in Bucharest. We planned very well how to fight for the budget we want, starting from the premise that, regardless of the circumstances under which the budget for the next budgetary exercise is being negotiated, it must be a little bit higher than the budget for the last exercise. We have expectations related to the cohesion policy, for there are more funds in this category, which are vital for us to reach an acceptable convergence as quickly as possible. Also very important for us are the funds for agriculture. These are the two chapters I am very determined to negotiate on really hard to get more money for Romania, but there are also certain conditions to be met that are important, such as, for instance, the flexibility among funds. Also important is that the transition fund for a greener economy to not be part of the cohesion one, but an additional one. Today we have come with all the conditions we desire. It will be a discussion and, in the end, it will come to a negotiation, and everyone will try to get as much as possible from it,” said Iohannis, before the meeting with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel (photo R).

He stated that Romania supports a contribution of states to the EU multiannual budget “a little bigger” than 1pct of the Gross National Income.

“We have to be extremely realistic. The equation is extremely complicated, because there are two types of states – some that pay more than they receive and some that receive more than they pay. We fall into the category of states that receive more than we contribute and still no agreement has been reached between those who contribute more and those who receive more. There are states that remain firmly on the position that they will only pay 1pct of the Gross National Income and here there are some calculations that show that we reach a very low limit. The Commission’s proposal from which we initiated discussions a long time ago started from a contribution of 1.1pct and something. You realize that if it goes down towards 1pct, then the total amount will be considerably smaller and the cuts have to be made somewhere. We are still trying through negotiations to reach a contribution of slightly higher than 1pct to make money available for cohesion as well as for agriculture and for new research projects, the Green Deal and so on,” said Iohannis.

The head of state argued that it is quite complicated to link financing through European funds with the rule of law, but said that Romania does not oppose this mechanism.

“We agree to link the granting of funds to the observance of the rule of law, but the specialists still have much work to do until they come with very specific criteria that can be applied. (…) If a clear procedure is reached, we are ok with it,” added Iohannis, according to Agerpres correspondent..

 

Romania has a very good bilateral relationship with the UK

 

The Head of State asserted that Romania has a very good bilateral relationship with the United Kingdom and voiced his confidence that in the Brexit context, the relation with this country will be enhanced.

“What concerns us very much at this stage if talking about Brexit is the negotiation of future relations, because the exit accord has been negotiated, it is very good. This kind of agreement was convenient to us, yet the future relations must be negotiated within a very tight deadline and fairly complicated issues to negotiate will arise here,” Iohannis said ahead of meeting the European Council’s President, Charles Michel.

The Romanian president specified that apart from the EU-UK talks, a bilateral negotiation with the latter must kick off. He showed that the negotiations with the EU only cover part of the relationship among the Member States and that significant parts remain to be tackled bilaterally.

“Technically, we started the negotiations a long time ago. Ever since the discussion on Brexit occurred, we started bilateral talks without interfering with the topic of the withdrawal agreement and without getting involved in what we have agreed to remain for the future relation on the EU behalf. We have had talks with the British for a long time and these talks are good. We, Romania have a very good bilateral relationship with the UK and I believe we will manage really well to advance in this bilateral field where we really want to strengthen the strategic relationship,” Iohannis added.

 

New EU budget must meet member states’ various development needs, support committed goals

 

President Klaus Iohannis emphasized at a meeting on Friday with President of the European Council, Charles Michel, that the EU’s new multi-annual budget must meet the various development and convergence needs of the member states and support the new objectives undertaken at European level, such as the digital and climate change goals.

“During the talks, President Klaus Iohannis offered a presentation of Romania’s priority interests regarding the EU’s future budget, and gave assurances of our country’s full willingness to make a constructive contribution to advancing negotiations for an agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework to be reached as soon as possible. The President of Romania explained that the objective of striking a quick agreement on this major political file should not prevail over the quality of the budget,” the Presidential Administration said in a statement.

Iohannis reaffirmed Romania’s support for an “ambitious” budget, preferably at the level proposed by the European Commission, the more so as new objectives have been added. He said that through the 2019 – 2024 Strategic Agenda worked out on the basis of the guidelines agreed upon at the Sibiu Summit, the EU has pledged to a set of important objectives and a successful implementation thereof must be supported by adequate financing, the cited source said.

Iohannis insisted particularly on the need to ensure proper financing for the Cohesion Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy, reiterating that these two policies are instrumental in reducing the development gaps between the member states and between the various European regions.

He also stressed that recovering the development gap from the EU average is a major priority for Romania as well, and that in light of these realities, our country must benefit from substantial national allocations for these two policies.

President Iohannis also highlighted the importance of providing flexible and simplified conditions of implementation, which should facilitate the access of beneficiaries to European funds and, at the same time, allow the authorities to tailor financing to the specific needs faced by the different regions of Romania.

With regard to the Cohesion Policy, President Iohannis pointed to a number of aspects in the future European budget that are of particular interest to Romania, specifically the need for increased flexibility of the transfer between the funds allocated to the Cohesion Policy, a better adjustment of the thematic concentration requirements within the European Regional Development Fund, so as to allow the continuation of financing for the basic infrastructure, as well as the need to identify solutions that make it possible to finance social infrastructure projects from the European Social Fund.

With regard to the Common Agricultural Policy, President Iohannis expressed strong support for the need to continue the external convergence of direct payments, which would allow the reduction of discrepancies between farmers at EU level.

He pointed out that Romania favors a mechanism for capping direct payments on a voluntary, not mandatory basis, in order to allow the adjustment of the rules to the specific needs of Romanian agriculture. Regarding CAP Pillar II, President Iohannis advocated an increase in allocations for rural development in relation to the European Commission’s proposal.

President Klaus Iohannis and the President of the European Council met to discuss the 2021 – 2027 Multiannual Financial Framework in the run-up to the European Council’s extraordinary meeting on February 20.

Photo: www.presidency.ro

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