President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday had a meeting with the ambassadors of the EU member states accredited to Romania, on the occasion of the conclusion of the Portuguese Presidency of the EU Council, in which context he stated that the introduction of the EU COVID digital certificate is a very important step forward, towards the full restoration of the fundamental freedoms of the Internal Market, especially in what concerns the free movement of persons.
According to the Presidential Administration, the meeting addressed topical issues on the European and international agenda. The head of state congratulated the Portuguese Presidency of the EU Council for its efforts to advance the European agenda during this very difficult time.
With regard to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Iohannis said that the coordinated approach at the EU level and the joint efforts of the member states and the European institutions had brought positive results, and he voiced his hope that a return to normalcy would take place as soon as possible, according to a press release sent to AGERPRES. In this context, Klaus Iohannis praised the European Commission’s efforts to buy and distribute vaccines for citizens of all EU member states.
The President also referred to the major importance of ensuring international solidarity and efforts for the proper distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to third countries, emphasizing, in this regard, the support that Romania has given to its neighbouring states, especially the Republic of Moldova, as well as Ukraine and Serbia.
With regard to the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, the head of state emphasized that the resilience of the EU member states is very important in dealing with possible future crises, highlighting, in this sense, the creation of the Euro-Atlantic Resilience Centre, which aims to provide expertise in this field for the EU and NATO.
Regarding the economic recovery process, Klaus Iohannis welcomed the decisions taken at the European level during this period, especially the Recovery Instrument – Next Generation EU, which, together with the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021 – 2027 will be very useful in supporting the efforts of member states to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Romanian President also mentioned the European instrument for temporary support to mitigate unemployment risks in an emergency (SURE) as a positive decision for the economies of the countries of the Union, according to the same source.
In this context, the head of state expressed his appreciation for the rapid completion of the ratification process of the Own Resources Decision, which is very important in terms of the implementation of the EU Recovery Plan, as well as the Union budget for 2021-2027.
Addressing the issue of the European Union’s foreign affairs, President Iohannis referred to the EU’s relations with the Russian Federation, reiterating the European Union’s commitment to a unified, strategic and long-term approach based on the five guiding principles in its policy towards Russia. The head of state pointed out that, at the most recent European Council, the leaders of the Union reaffirmed unity and solidarity as essential elements in future actions and in formulating a coordinated response to Russia’s actions. He underscored the particular importance of maintaining security in the Black Sea region.
Regarding the Conference on the Future of Europe, President Iohannis mentioned that the emphasis must be on a pragmatic approach to topics of major interest at European level, with the common goal of strengthening the Union’s internal and external resilience.
The head of state underscored that this initiative, launched this year on May 9 in Strasbourg, offers the citizens of the Union the opportunity to actively engage in debates on issues of interest to them, as well as to indicate where it is important for the EU to intervene to improve the EU citizens lives.
They also discussed at the meeting aspects related to the Three Seas Initiative, the Eastern Partnership and the Western Balkans region, and the prospects for Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
On the same occasion, the ambassadors of the EU member states thanked the Romanian authorities for the efficient way in which they organised the vaccination campaign for the foreign diplomats.