Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis attended a videoconference meeting on Monday with European Council President Charles Michel, his Lithuanian counterpart and the prime ministers of Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia in preparation of the European Council meeting scheduled for Thursday and Friday in Brussels.
The main items on the agenda of the European Council meeting are European coordination amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the EU’s digital agenda, rising energy prices, migration, European trade policy and the EU’s external relations.
According to the Romanian Presidential Administration, during the videoconference Iohannis highlighted the crisis in Romania in terms of the 14-day cumulative COVID-19 case reporting rate showing that a low mass vaccination rate contributed significantly to the situation.
He mentioned Romania having activated the European Civil Protection Mechanism and thanked the member states that have already offered support to Romania.
“The prime minister of Poland and the prime minister of Slovenia conveyed their countries’ readiness to help Romania, and, in his turn, the president of the European Council undertook to facilitate European-level support for Romania,” the Presidential Administration said.
Regarding the energy situation, Iohannis underscored that a surge in energy prices is a major concern for Romania, given its impact on citizens, businesses and, in particular, on vulnerable consumers.
The chief of state underlined the need to quickly identify efficient short-term solutions because the current energy crisis will have serious effects in all EU countries, with profound social and economic impact, both on household consumers, people and economies in general, affecting the competitiveness of industries.
“The President of Romania drew attention to the need for a medium and long-term approach targeting the structural problems of the energy sector, and also those of the common market in the field of energy. President Klaus Iohannis thus underscored the need for a convergent approach at European level designed for common, integrated solutions to coordinate national responses, and called for immediate action to protect vulnerable consumers,” said the Presidential Administration.
Iohannis also underscored the importance of diversifying energy supply sources and reducing dependence on third-party suppliers outside the European Union, as well as ensuring security of energy supply. He insisted that European energy security is closely linked to the use of a balanced mix of technologies and energy sources, such as natural gas and nuclear energy, both directions that should guide European taxonomy policies.
The President requested the European Commission to include nuclear energy and natural gas in the complementary Delegated Act in the taxonomy legislative package, to be unveiled as soon as possible, according to the Presidential Administration.
In the run-up to the Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels this December, Iohannis emphasised the need for the European Union to support by concrete measures the three partner countries that want to strengthen relations with the EU. Amidst the ongoing energy crisis, he requested support for Moldova’s natural gas and electricity supply.