Three weeks ahead of taking over the presidency of the Council of the EU, PM Viorica Dancila presented in Parliament a list of priorities that the Romanian executive will have in this office. Among them are connectivity, digitizing the European industry, domestic security within the EU, and cyber security. During its six months leading the Council, Romania will militate for a strong and united Europe, with an emphasis on economic, social, and political cohesion, according to the prime minister:
"Each minister has a detailed agenda on its responsibilities and aims during the presidency, and I assure you that Romania will in no way be a lesser leader than other member states. I stand before you today with the same vision for Europe, a united and better Europe. The motto of Romania's presidency is 'Cohesion as a European Value'.
The Prime Minister added that she would act towards reducing development gaps, towards equal access to benefits, removing factors that separate member states or generate hierarchies, pleading for overcoming attitudes that divide newer and older member states, or the East from the West. Decisions on the future of European policies have to reflect the Union's financing policies, and the Romanian presidency of the EU Council will contribute to the drafting of the next multiannual financial framework, in order to provide a balance between growth policies and convergence within the community space, the Romanian official stated. One of the greatest challenges facing the Romanian term in office will be migration. This is an extremely difficult matter, which has been dividing the member countries. A reason for which, according to PM Dancila, Romania is seeking effective and sustainable management solutions. The future Romanian presidency of the Council of the EU is also interested in consolidating the strategic partnership between the EU and the North Atlantic Alliance and in enlarging the Union towards the western Balkans, an enlargement which would provide additional security, both internally and externally.
Gathered in a joint session, the Romanian Senate and Chamber of Deputies have adopted a declaration, expressing their availability to collaborate with the Government on all matters and initiatives proposed during Romania's term at the helm of the Council of the EU, the first such term since Romania's joining the EU in 2007. Also, according to the Romanian Parliament, Romania's presidency will focus on the idea of a stronger Union, closer to its citizens. Attending the European Council in Brussels, Romania's president Klaus Iohannis stated:
"We are ready. There is always room for improvement, but I would like to tell you with all sincerity that, after all the blunders that occurred, which I pointed out at the time, preparations are in an advanced stage. Things are moving, and I think this is good news for Romanians, but mostly for our European partners, even though we may have difficulties in some areas. We are fairly well prepared for the presidency, and we will carry through."
In expectation of the moment, President Iohannis has had meetings with European leaders, such as the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Finnish PM Juha Sipila, whose country will take over the EU Council presidency from Romania. Files such as Brexit, the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework or migration will be managed by Bucharest in the first six months of the year 2019. Also, the elections for the European Parliament will be organized during Romania's term, in May next year. Until then, Romania continues to take over European offices. This week it's been the presidency of the General Affairs Council, at the end of the European Affairs Ministers' meeting in Brussels. The Romanian Minister Delegate for European Affairs, George Ciamba, said in his speech, held at the meeting, that he appreciated the efforts made by the Austrian presidency, stressing that Romania was ready to maintain the same alert pace of discussions, aimed to lead to significant progress during its term.
In another development, the Romanian Foreign Ministry has hailed the adoption, by the European Parliament, of a resolution requesting the immediate accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Shengen area.