Iohannis: Romania’s relation with Germany not only strategic, but privileged
Romania’s relationship with Germany is not only of strategic importance, but it is also privileged, Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis stated on Monday at the end of talks he had with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
“For Romania, the relation with Germany is not only one of strategic importance, but a privileged relation and definitely one of the best relationships. (…) Mrs Chancellor and I proposed to maintain this relation and to improve it. Germany remained the most important trade partner for Romania, it’s ranked first, with constant growth of over 10 percent over the past years. It’s notable and I believe that it shows that we are not just politically close but we are also close economy-wise,” the head of state told a joint press conference with the German Chancellor.
Another topic tackled by the two officials was the importance of German minority residing in Romania and the Romanian community in Germany.
“We believe that these communities significantly contributed to creating a bridge between our nations, and to strengthening this bridge between our nations, respectively,” Iohannis added.
The discussions focused also on Europe and the European project.
“We both agreed that it is the most valuable project. It must be strengthened, continued and improved. We have to find the best ways to get close again to the European citizen, to ensure the security of the European space and find the best ways to make the EU better – to better function, be more efficient and more accepted. I have mentioned in this context the Schengen Area topic and Mrs Chancellor encouraged me to continue discussions with other European partners, perhaps we can manage to get close to a solution in a reasonable time,” the President also said.
Another topic tackled was Romania’s presidency of the Council of the EU in 2019. “And I want to underscore that difficult themes will appear, exactly when we hold the presidency – the Brexit completion, discussions on the next budget of the EU – and I believe that we can play not just an important part, but a positive part when presiding the Council,” President Iohannis pointed out.
Iohannis and Merkel also talked about the transatlantic relation.
“I briefly reviewed how the visit to the US in Washington D.C. went and we agreed upon remaining on the same common and important idea – the transatlantic relation is vital, because the EU is important to the US and the US is important to the EU, we are on the same page – that we shouldn’t chose between the NATO and the EU, but collaborate. These things will lead, in our opinion, to improving the situation we are in,” the head of state underscored.
Last but not least, the “Eastern neighborhood”, the issue of Moldova and Ukraine were reviewed. “We even discussed a little more in detail about the Black Sea space and the Black Sea security, where we basically have identical opinions, it’s an area that is vital not only for the Union but for NATO and broadly for our and the entire region’s security,” the President elaborated.
Prior to the meeting with German Chancellor Angel Merkel, Klaus Iohannis has signed in the Condolence Book for former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who has recently passed away.
“I have expressed condolences in the name of Romania and in my own name, signing this book of condolences. This year we have all the reasons to meet and discuss and celebrate 50th years since resuming the diplomatic relations between Germany and Romania, the 25th anniversary since the signing of the Treaty of friendship between Germany and Romania and the 10th anniversary since Romania, then under the German presidency of the Council of the EU, became a member of the EU,” Klaus Iohannis mentioned.
“Two-speed Europe issue almost no longer existing”
Romania’s head of state said in Berlin, at the end of a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, that the problem of a two-speed Europe almost ceased to exist.
When asked in a joint press conference about how he sees the two-speed Europe project, the head of stated revealed that, in the meantime this problem doesn’t exist.
“In the meantime the issue as such doesn’t exist, as it appeared in a certain moment, with certain political accents. I believe that it was mainly a matter of definition and communication, for the countries of the Western Europe it was important not to exist countries blocking certain projects and for us, the countries in the East, it was important not to exist projects we have no access to. Meanwhile all this things are very well clarified, we all agreed that there has to be the option for the member states to participate or not in certain projects, but all projects should stay open for all those who want to participate in and we have two classic examples. W are not all are members of the Eurozone, but whoever wants, has the way opened and a more recent project where even we, Romania, were among the initiators – the European prosecutor – where everyone can participate, but for the time being, not all, but only part of the member states. I believe that this matter of the two-speeds is no longer up to date,” President Iohannis stated.
Merkel: Germany, Romania want to cooperate closer in EU defence matters
There are defence efforts deployed inside the European Union, where closer cooperation is being sought, as the EU is reconfirming its attachment to Article 5 in the NATO Treaty, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel told a joint news conference in Berlin with Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis.
At the end of their meeting in Berlin, Merkel and Iohannis voiced their common wish for defence efforts to be intensified, adding that Romania will not choose between NATO and the EU or the EU and the US.
“Firstly, we must say that there are defence efforts inside the European Union where we want closer cooperation to complement NATO actions. So we, the Europeans, want to be more active, integrated with NATO, but we also want to have political solutions as well, because military solutions are ultima ratio, the last resort. We are expressing our attachment to Article 5 in the NATO Treaty and we will be following the same line. There are certainly some controversies with the US, for instance the fact that the US has denounced the climate change accord. We will very clearly state our position on that matter at the European Council summit, because we believe doing that is very useful, especially when there are diverging opinions, as we could see,” said Merkel.
The relationship between the European Union and the US should be an excellent one, Iohannis said in his turn.
“I underscored that on my recent visit to Washington, and I believe this is an important message that has to be translated into action. Once again: this is not the case of us choosing between NATO and the EU or between the EU and the United Sates. That would be impossible, and in fact nobody wants that,” said Iohannis.
He added that “hiatuses have emerged in the smooth running of things.”
“Everybody is striving to find ways out of the situation and to resume excellent relations. The trans-Atlantic relationship is not a political or diplomatic option. The trans-Atlantic relation is at the base of our democratic systems and it must be preserved very, very well as thus. It is my impression that, little by little, many people understand that heading toward weakening the relationship would be a big mistake, and that almost all have a political speech that surely leads to reinforcing this relationship, because Europe needs America, and vice-versa, while synergetic cooperation should emerge between NATO and the EU and nothing else,” said Iohannis.
President Iohannis tells German Chancellor Merkel Romania is stable country
Romania is a stable, solid country, with a functioning economy, President Klaus Iohannis said on Monday during the talks he had in Berlin with Federal Republic of Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“In respect to the political crisis back home, Mrs Chancellor naturally doesn’t wish to voice an opinion, but we had a short discussion on this topic, and I believe I managed to send the message that there is a crisis inside the ruling coalition, however Romania is a stable, solid country, with a functioning economy, and that I asked all persons involved in divergent actions to find urgent solutions, which will undoubtedly happen,” President Klaus Iohannis told a joint press conference with Angela Merkel.
Asked by the German journalists if this crisis in Bucharest would affect the European Union, namely the relations with the EU and NATO, the head of state showed that it has no effect whatsoever.
“It has absolutely no effect. Indeed, we have a domestic political crisis, which we have defined as a crisis inside the ruling coalition, the ruling party. Romania’s European and foreign policy aren’t influenced by this crisis under any circumstance. On the one hand, because in the first place these are areas which I represent and my interest is to very clearly delimit things. In the second place, because all Romanian politicians, regardless of their political colour, have the same stand as I do, namely that we need extremely solid, rational European and foreign policies, and in respect to these two points, interestingly, everyone in Romania opines the same,” the president said.
Germany’s Merkel: Romania’s German minority plays important part in bilateral relationship
The German minority is playing the part of a bridge in the bilateral relationship between Romania and Germany, with Romania’s President being an example to the point, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel told a joint news conference with Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis in Berlin.
“We have used this opportunity to deepen our bilateral ties and discussed how to strengthen them. (…) The Romanian President’s visit occurs amidst the 50th anniversary of the resumption or the diplomatic ties between Germany and Romania, the 25th anniversary of the friendship treaty between the two countries and the 10th anniversary of Romania’s European Union membership. And then there is the fact of the German minority of Romania playing the part of a bridge and the President is a perfect example to the point,” said Merkel.
Another topic for discussion regarded economic ties, with emphasis on digitisation.
“We also discussed economic ties, which have developed very dynamically at a two-digit growth pace. We discussed digitisation as well. The President assured us that Romania is the place for IT specialists. I believe these are very important areas to us,” said Merkel.
Their talks also focused on the European Council summit to be held this week in Brussels and Romania’s reforms, with Merkel thanking Iohannis for how much he has done for the rule of law in Romania.
“I underscored that after acceding to the European Union, Romania has taken important steps in the fight against corruption. I said the meeting brings to the fore the fact the progress in other fields are under a question mark and that is why reform has to continue. I know the President is supporting that, and I want to thank him for how much he has done for the rule of law in Romania. At the European Council summit, we will be discussing other topics on which Romania and Germany have shared visions, such as the fight against terror, climate change and migration policies,” said Merkel, adding that progress has to be made with protecting migrants as well as stability in their countries of origins.
Merkel abstained herself from commenting on the political turmoil in Romania. “No comment. I said we want the rule of law to be strengthened. But these are Romania’s domestic issues,” said Merkel.
On the other hand, Merkel pointed out that the principle of a two-speed Europe is sometimes misunderstood as it leaves the impression some countries are excluded from certain projects. “All countries may join, provided that requirements are met, so there is no country excluded,” said Merkel.
President Klaus Iohannis is paying a visit to the Federal Republic of Germany over 19 – 21 June.