President Iohannis says Romania is ready to take over the EU Council presidency.
Romania was admitted into the EU on the first day of 2007, and on that same day next year it takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union Council. The head of the executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, recalled that this half year will have to include the Brexit process, scheduled for March. This period also covers the time when the community sets the framework for its budget for the 2021-2027 time frame, and a coherent migration strategy. In total, 257 issues have to be covered in a mere four months, considering the campaign for European Parliament elections.
Last week, Romanian PM Viorica Dancila went to Brussels to assure European officials that Romania will handle the presidency well, one that she described as ambitious, but realistic. Romania also promised it would act as an impartial mediator that seeks consensus. These were necessary provisions, given that last month European Affairs Minister Victor Negrescu resigned after disagreements with the rest of the cabinet. In addition, both the European Commission and the European Parliament leveled unfettered criticism at the government in Bucharest over issues such as corruption and the rule of law.
President Klaus Iohannis, a constant critic of the majority coalition and its present prime minister, whom he repeatedly asked to resign, said Romania was ready to take over the presidency of the EU Council. On Thursday, at the Euro Summit, he said: “We are ready. There is always room for better, 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 at 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 had meetings with European leaders, such as the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose country will be handing over the presidency of the Union as well as Finnish PM Juha Sipila, whose country will take over the EU Council presidency from Romania, who assured the Romanian leader of their entire support. They also talked about the informal summit on the future of Europe scheduled to take place on May 9th 2019 in the central Romanian city of Sibiu, which will have a major role in setting the strategic agenda of the Union.