Romanian Prime Minister Florin Citu – on a visit to Brussels – had a meeting on Thursday with Frans Timmermans, European Commission Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal, expressing in context Romania’s readiness to actively participates in the implementation of long-term objectives agreed through the Strategic Agenda for 2019-2024.
He also met with other senior officials of the College of Commissioners – Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age, and Adina Valean (photo), European Commissioner for Transport.
According to a Government press release, the discussions with the senior European Commission officials focused on both the overall priorities at EU level and Romania’s vision in relation to them, as well as elements of specific interest from the perspective of the European dignitaries’ portfolio.
“During these meetings, Prime Minister Florin Citu presented the priorities of the Romanian Government in relation to European files. He also conveyed a message of substantial commitment from Romania to continue to act as a reliable partner and deeply dedicated to the European project. He also expressed Romania’s readiness to actively participate in the joint effort to restore the Union’s post-crisis economy and to advance the implementation of the long-term objectives agreed by the Strategic Agenda for 2019-2024. At the same time he raised the issue of Romania’s accession to the the Schengen area, which remains a priority objective for Romania,” reads the release.
The cited source mentions that the discussions with Frans Timmermans focused on the objectives laid out by the European Green Deal, context in which Prime Minister Citu reiterated Romania’s support for achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and for stepping up emission cuts by 2030.
“The Romanian dignitary underlined the importance of establishing a flexible implementation framework, with adequate support mechanisms for the Member States that take into account the economic and social realities they are facing and that do not impose an additional burden on European citizens, especially those in more precarious situations, in terms of welfare. The Prime Minister of Romania also reiterated the importance that Romania attaches to gas usage in this transition process, a possibility confirmed by the European Commissioner, as regards the development of natural gas distribution networks, included,” the release further mentions
At the same time, the meeting with Margrethe Vestager provided an opportunity to exchange views on the consequences of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on European companies, including those in Romania, and on the mechanisms to support their recovery efforts.
Prime Minister Florin Citu praised the Commission’s work in this context and the rapid measures to adapt the existing legislative framework.
“Moreover, considering the growing relevance of the digital sector at European level, Prime Minister Florin Citu showed the interest that the Romanian Government attaches to this field and underlined the expectation of achieving a real digital convergence within the European Union, through investments in infrastructure and the development of digital skills in all Member States. In this context, he presented the digitalisation projects envisaged by Romania, with a focus on digitising the administration, including the tax administration, the education system and others,” the cited source states.
The European Commissioner also congratulated Romania on winning the European competition for hosting the EU Cyber Center, reiterating readiness to support its operationalization as soon as possible.
According to the release, the meeting with Adina Valean addressed current issues on the European agenda, taking into account the relevance of transport for the proper functioning of the EU internal market and the economies of the Member States, further highlighted in the context of the pandemic.
“In this context, the two officials underlined the importance of continuing to maintain Green Lanes to facilitate mobility during the crisis. The difficult situation created by the Mobility Package 1 was also discussed, and the actions taken by Romania and other affected Member States before the Court of Justice of the European Union were brought to mind,” according to the same release.
In this context, the Romanian Prime Minister mentioned the priority given at national level to infrastructure projects, considering their contribution to Romania’s economic development.
“He emphasized the importance of a balanced approach in the process of adapting this area to the new climate and digital objectives, taking into account the development and modernization imperative specific to each Member State. He welcomed the initiative of the European Commissioner to set up a Task Force of European Commission experts to help Member States, including Romania, to prepare a transport infrastructure project eligible for funding from the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility,” the release also says.
Romania’s PM, EP President Sassoli discuss vaccination, Recovery Plan
Romania’s Prime Minister Florin Citu met on Thursday in Brussels President of the European Parliament David Sassoli as part of a an official visit to European bodies, February 11-12, 2021, to discuss, among other things, the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination campaign in the EU and the European Economic Recovery Plan.
According to a government press statement, the discussions provided an opportunity to exchange views on key issues on the European agenda, with focus on managing the COVID-19 pandemic Europewide, including the vaccination campaign, the European Economic Recovery Plan, the start of the Conference on the Future of Europe, as well as the EU External Agenda.
The Romanian prime minister reaffirmed Romania’s firm commitment to continuing acting in a spirit of deep attachment to the European design and values.
“As part of the excellent cooperation with the European Parliament, he expressed the interest of the Romanian government in continuing their open and substantial dialogue, especially in the current European context marked by the pandemic, which requires increased involvement, unity and coordination on the part of the European institutions and EU member states. Prime Minister Florin Citu mentioned the expertise and involvement of Romania’s MEPs in supporting the promotion of unity and cohesion inside the European Union,” the release mentions.
Citu also underlined the importance of close co-operation at European level in order to further manage the pandemic and its consequences, emphasising the importance of successful vaccination campaigns in the member states and the need to maintain the functioning of the internal market and the European free movement area.
For his part, President of the European Parliament David Sassoli confirmed that only a coordinated approach at European level is likely to help the EU emerge from the crisis triggered by the pandemic.
“Economically, the Romanian prime minister underscored the importance of the new financial instruments being implemented to ensure robust economic growth. He also welcomed the very recent approval by the European Parliament of the Recovery and Resilience Facility,” according to the statement.
At the same time, regarding the Conference on the Future of Europe, Citu highlighted the relevance of the process, especially amidst the ongoing pandemic and the lessons learned, in strengthening European crisis response instruments, and in strengthening democracy Europewide.
“In his conversation with the president of the European Parliament, an expectation was highlighted that the debates at the forthcoming conference will contribute to the goal of a union closer to its citizens, ensuring the stability and prosperity they want, and to an in-depth dialogue on issues of direct interest to them,” according to the release.
At the same time, Citu thanked for the support of the European Parliament to Romania’s accession to the Schengen area, with the president of the European Parliament reconfirming that Romania has all the support of the European Parliament.
“Regarding the European Union’s external relations, the Romanian prime minister highlighted the priority attached to the Republic of Moldova and the support for the management of the pandemic, as well as for the democratic and pro-European reform process. The prime minister underlined the importance of the EU support to the vaccination process in its immediate vicinity. The president of the European Parliament expressed his deep appreciation for Romania’s support to the Republic of Moldova, including in the shape of a donation of up to 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine,” the release also reads.
“These discussions addressed current issues on Romania’s European agenda: the vaccination campaign (Romania is currently ranked 4th in Europe) and the crucial importance of the coordinated effort at EU level by the European Commission, as well as the need for a mechanism to help the countries in the Eastern Neighbourhood obtain vaccines, the process of completing at national level the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the European Rule of Law Mechanism, which Romania supports, Romania’s effort to meet the benchmarks under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM). Also tackled were Romania’s commitment to meeting the recommendations of the European Commission as soon as possible, the presentation of the Euro-Atlantic Center for Resilience project, praised by the interlocutors, the process of Romania’s accession to the Schengen area and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and other political issues of common interest,” the release says.
On Friday, the second day of his visit to Brussels, Citu has scheduled meetings with the President of the European Council Charles Michel; President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and Executive Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis.