Romanian political leaders had talks with the EU chief negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier.
The European Union’s chief negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier, had a meeting in Bucharest with key Romanian political leaders. They looked at the current stage of the Union’s negotiations with London, and at the next steps to be taken in Britain’s withdrawal from the European bloc.
Michel Barnier’s presence in the Romanian capital is not accidental. On January 1, Romania is to take over the rotating presidency of the European Union Council, and the agenda of the following 6 months will be dominated by this delicate issue, which is expected to be settled in the first half of next year. In fact, Michel Barnier himself emphasised that, as the holder of the rotating Council presidency, Romania will play a key role in ensuring the institutional framework required for an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the Union and in the negotiations on the future relations between the two parties.
Preserving the unity of the 27 member states in the Brexit talks is extremely important, and it is an essential prerequisite for the proper management of the entire process, President Klaus Iohannis said during his meeting with Michel Barnier. In his view, the integrity of the single market and the indivisibility of the 4 freedoms are core pillars of the European project, and they are non-negotiable. Equally important, according to the President of Romania, is the Brexit financial settlement.
And not least, given that the Romanians make up the second largest foreign minority in the UK, after the Polish one, Bucharest firmly supports the importance of an ambitious mobility regulatory framework, which will fully comply with the non-discrimination and reciprocity principles. As PM Viorica Dancila and Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu said, Bucharest will closely monitor the implementation of the exit agreement, so that all the Romanian citizens residing in the UK may continue to live, work and study in the same terms as they have done so far.
According to the National Statistics Institute and other relevant institutions, 328,000 Romanians live in the UK at present, with the largest communities reported in urban areas like London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Belfast. More than 2,000 Romanian physicians work in Britain, alongside financial and banking experts, artists, architects, teachers, IT experts and researchers. Around 10,000 Romanian youths are currently enrolled in British universities.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)