The Romanian Prime Minister has presented in Parliament the priorities of the upcoming Romanian presidency of the Council of the European Union
A member of the EU since 2007, Romania is now getting ready for its first term at the helm of the presidency of the Council of the European Union, in the first half of 2019. Romania would like this role to be a successful one, that is why the Prime Minister Viorica Dancila has made an appeal to unity towards that end. On Wednesday, she presented in plenary session of the Romanian Parliament the stage of preparations and the main topics that Romania is keen on tackling.
There are several major goals that Romania has set, including ensuring fair and sustainable development for all the member states, by means of cohesion, innovation and digitization projects, maintaining a safe Europe, strengthening the EU's global role and defending common European values. All projects will be centered on the EU citizens, Viorica Dancila said.
The Romanian official also talked about the background against which Romania's term will be unfolding:
"This mandate must take into consideration the current large-scale projects that will shape the European Union, including a reflection on the future of the EU and Brexit, the transition towards a new legislative cycle following the European elections and implicitly the end of the European Commission's and the European Parliament's terms.
The Romanian Prime Minister also addressed the need to ensure the security of the EU's external borders:
"The major topics on our agenda will include the implementation of the Shenghen evaluation mechanism, of the IT systems developed at EU level and their interoperability. We will try and explore new means of approaching these topics, that is why a coherent and unitary management of migration flows will remain a major one."
While a successful presidency of the Council of the EU is a goal shared by all Romanians, domestically the level of discontent has been growing. The opposition has filed a no-confidence motion against the left wing government formed by the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats. The initiators of this motion - MPs of the National Liberal Party, the Save Romania Union and People's Movement Party - say that the government, with the measures it has implemented, has destroyed the economy and the justice system.
Thousands of people have taken to the streets in the capital and other towns and cities across the country to protest the changes brought to the Criminal Codes, which, they say are risky and might hamper the fight against corruption. These changes have also triggered reactions in Brussels. EU officials have stated they will analyze them carefully.
(translated by Mihaela Ignatescu)