Meeting – During Romania’s presidency of the Council of the EU, Bucharest hosted on May 20th and 21st the informal meeting of the environment ministers from the EU member states. The debates focused on the measures to be taken at European and international level to create the necessary framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Priorities target mainly the reduction of energy consumption. The European Commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries Karmenu Vella announced that soon the EC would adopt new guidelines for integrating ecosystem services in the decision-making and green infrastructure process, as regenerative and circular economy should be boosted and a durable agricultural policy promoted. The European official said the EU would make effective progress in the environmental field through the line ministers’ cooperation. The debates also approached biodiversity, the discussions highlighting the importance of integrating biodiversity targets within the relevant sectoral policies and strategies.
Brexit - The British government approved PM Theresa May’s plan on Brexit, including the compromise measures that are to be included in the law that is to be voted on early next month. The draft law includes the idea of a temporary customs union until future general elections are held as well as measures to guarantee EU workers’ rights and to protect the environment. The passing of the Brexit law by the House of Commons is an almost impossible mission for the government, even though the measures proposed might persuade some of the Labour MPs to vote for it, newspapers write. Jeremy Corbyn pointed out he was opposed to the government’s proposal, considering it is not different from the previous one that has been already rejected 3 times so far. Also the euro skeptic Conservatives announced they would vote against it. The government also discussed preparations for a no-deal Brexit, which, at least for the moment, is still the version provided by the British legislation, unless a deal is reached by October 31.
Kiev – Romania’s deputy Prime Minister Ana BIrchall on Monday participated in Kiev in the swearing-in ceremony of Ukraine’s president elect, Volodimir Zelenski. According to a government communiqué, Ana Birchall had a bilateral meeting with the Ukrainian official during which she reiterated Romania’s firm support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally-recognized borders. Strengthening security in the Black Sea region is a common objective, the Romanian official added. She approached the issue of the rights of the Romanian minority in Ukraine, highlighting the role of minorities as bridges between the two countries. Almost 500 thousand ethnic Romanians live in Ukraine, mostly on the Romanian territories annexed in 1940 by the former USSR and taken over in 1991 by Ukraine as a successor state. (translation by L. Simion)