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Iohannis in Brussels: Presidents of European Council, European Commission, open to Romania’s proposals for EU’s multiannual budget

Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis said on Friday that both the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, were open to Romania’s proposals on the multiannual budget of the European Union.

“Both President Charles Michel and President Ursula von der Leyen were open to our proposals and, after the last discussion we had a few weeks ago with the President of the European Council, changes have been made in the budget proposal that meet our requests. It is part of the negotiations, but until we have unanimity on the budget we have no budget, we only have discussions and proposals,” Iohannis said before attending the second day of an extraordinary meeting of the European Council.

He pointed out, however, that even after the discussions in bilateral formats between the leaders of the member states and the leadership of the European Council and the European Commission, “the positions did not come close.”

“The discussions stretched until 06:00hrs, when I joined the negotiations with my team, but the result, at least so far, is disappointing. I cannot say that progress has been made; the positions have not got any closer, and today, in a few minutes, we are gathering again in a plenary sitting, trying to see if we can make progress with these negotiations. (…) It would be good to make progress, but I must confess that most of us are quite skeptical,” said Iohannis, according to Agerpres correspondent in Brussels.

He added that many changes could not be made in the current EU budget proposal put forth by the President of the European Council and, and if no agreement is reached, another one has to be drawn up.

“Not many changes can be made here. If we fail to agree on this proposal, it must be forgotten and we have to come up with another proposal that will take days to draw up and negotiate. The process may be quite long in the end,” the President said.

In his opinion, at least one more summit is needed to reach an agreement.

“If advancing at the pace they did yesterday and last night, things will require a lot of meetings. (…) From my point of view we must keep up our energy and optimism because in the end we all want to reach an acceptable budget. But the chances, for sure, are no better today than they were yesterday,” the head of state said.

Iohannis mentioned that, at the plenary meeting on Thursday, he reiterated the importance that Romania attaches to the funds for cohesion and the common agricultural policy.

“I reiterated the importance of cohesion to us. It is about the money we invest in each community, it is money that reaches practically every Romanian and helps us reach a level of development, a standard of living comparable to other EU states. On the other hand, I underlined once again that the common agricultural policy is a basic pillar; it must be financed, and to Romania these funds are very important, especially the funds for rural development, which in the current budget proposal are subjected to cuts that we find too big. On the other hand, we have shown that a sufficiently large budget is needed as a whole in order to be able to finance other European Union projects – modernisation, research and so on. Opinions were quite divided (…) There are member states that want a considerably smaller budget than the one proposed, but most of us want a budget at least as large as it is proposed or even larger,” said Iohannis.

Iohannis had a meeting on Friday morning with President of the European Council Charles Michel, and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, after an extraordinary European Council meeting on the EU multiannual budget for 2021-2027 was interrupted.

Michel interrupted on Thursday evening the summit to hold bilateral negotiations with all the heads of state or government attending the summit in an attempt to reach agreement on the future EU budget

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