Romanian president attends EU Council meeting and Euro Summit; European Parliament debates again Romania and Bulgaria Schengen bid
BUCHAREST – Romanian President Klaus Iohannis attends on Thursday and Friday the European Council meeting in Brussels, and the expanded format Euro Summit. According to the Presidency, the agenda of the European Council includes budget negotiations post-2020, the internal market of the union, migration management, fighting climate change, and combating racism and xenophobia. Speaking of the future EU budget, the Romanian president will plead for a speedy passing of the bill, specifying that Romania, as future presidency holder in the first half of next year, will act to get significant progress in negotiations. President Iohannis will also speak in support of enhanced dialog regarding migration. At the Euro Summit, the head of state will underline Romania's support in the effort to consolidate the Economic and Monetary Union.
SCHENGEN – The European Parliament discusses on Monday a report with a proposal for Romania and Bulgaria to join the Schengen Area. The vote is scheduled for Tuesday, but the final decision lies with the EU Council. At present, both countries partially apply the Schengen aquis, with border controls at the borders of both. The European Parliament greenlighted the two countries to integrate in Schengen in June 2011, and confirmed this position several times after the legislative resolution. Integration was delayed several times due to opposition from some member countries, which invoked the lack of progress in judiciary reform.
LONDON – Romanian Custodian of the Crown, Princess Margaret, and her husband Radu continue their public visit to the UK, which started Sunday. The two attend on Monday a dinner in their honor, on Tuesday they meet Queen Elisabeth II at Buckingham Palace, and on Wednesday they meet Prince Charles. On Sunday they were guests of honor at a remembrance in the royal chapel in London, honoring Queen Marie and King Mihai I. This is the first visit the princess makes to the UK since she took over as head of the royal house of Romania. The visit comes in commemoration of the Romanian Centennial and the commemoration of the end of WWI. The late King Mihai of Romania, who died on December 5, 2017, at 96, was third cousin to Queen Elisabeth.
BREXIT - The EU Court of Justice decided that the UK is free to unilaterally withdraw its notification of leaving the EU. In early October, the Scottish Supreme Court announced it filed a motion with the EU court to have issued a preliminary decision on the UK's possibility of revoking its decision to leave the community. On Tuesday, British MPs will vote on approving the deal to get the UK out of the European Union, signed by London and Brussels after a year and a half of negotiations. Full Brexit is scheduled for March 29, 2019.
HANDBALL - And Romania's national women's handball team was defeated by Holland 29-24 in its first game in Main Group II of the European Championships in France. It is the first defeat for the Romanian players, after defeating the Czechs, Norwegians, and Germans. In another game in the group, Hungary defeated Germany. Holland is now in first place, with 6 points, followed by Romania, Germany and Hungary, 4 points each, Norway, 2 points, while Spain was eliminated with no points. In order to secure qualification for the semifinals, Romania has to defeat for both Spain and Hungary, in matches scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.
BRUSSELS – Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu attends on Monday the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels. The agenda includes current topics such as the West Balkans, as well as cooperation with the African Union, Iran, and Venezuela. At the working lunch European officials will have informal talks on the evolution of the situation in Ukraine with the Ukrainian foreign minister.
PENSIONS – The Labor and Social Protection Committee in the Romanian Parliament debates, today and tomorrow, the bill to restructure the public pension system. On November 26, the Senate passed it, after being introduced by the government. The bill aims to fix inequities in the system, such as large differences between retirees with similar work experience, but very different pensions. According to the new law, work experience worth 15 years is the minimum amount that qualifies a worker for a public pension.