“Europe has always been able to overcome obstacles and to emerge revitalized after less fortunate periods in history. Even the European project in its current form has been shaped by the successive crises it has been through”, Romania’s Prime Minister Viorica Dancila underlined in the presentation she delivered in Strasbourg on the four main action pillars Bucharest has established for its first term at the helm of the Council of the EU: Europe of Convergence, A Safer Europe, Europe - a stronger global actor and Europe of common values:
Viorica Dancila: “The Romanian presidency’s outlook on the European project has been structured around the idea of ‘cohesion as a common European value’ in all its dimensions: political cohesion, illustrated by the need for unity among the member states; economic and territorial cohesion in view of reducing development gaps between member states and between regions; social cohesion, important for the preservation of the four liberties of the EU’s domestic market.”
There are over 500 million European citizens waiting for an answer about the future of their homeland, Europe. I think it is important to show the citizens of the Union that European institutions are working for them and, more importantly, that they produce results that improve their living standards and future prospects, Prime Minister Dancila added.
Europe of convergence is the first action pillar of the Romanian presidency. Starting from the fact that the single market represents the core of the European construction, Bucharest intends to pay increased attention to the legislative agenda in the field of the internal market, with a view to completing the framework needed for its good functioning.
“We must consolidate the scientific and technological foundations of the European industry, through which we can also boost our competitiveness internationally and generate economic growth and new jobs,” the Romanian Prime Minister has said, adding that the consistent pace of efforts towards the digital economy will be maintained, with a special focus on developing functional links between the East and the West, the North and the South, aimed at facilitating connections of any kind. Last but not least, attention will also be paid to the process of regulating the Energy Union.
The second pillar of the Romanian presidency will be a safer Europe, Viorica Dancila has also said:
Viorica Dancila: “We are facing security challenges that could threaten citizens’ safety. The European Union is facing a wide range of risks and threats, which could undermine the values and prosperity of our open societies. In a world of accelerated digitization, we must also advance in providing cyber-protection for our citizens. It is necessary to strengthen the EU’s capabilities to respond to cyber-attacks. So, cyber-security will represent a prerequisite for any project concerning the information society. Also in relation to the EU security, we will treat with all seriousness the negotiation and completion of initiatives concerning the coherent management of migration inflows, strengthening the union’s external borders, emergency response, the counter-terrorist fight, citizen cyber-protection, the operability and even expanding the European prosecutors’ mandate to cover terrorism-related offences, as well as the consolidation of judicial cooperation in civil and criminal files.”
During its term in office, Romania seeks to contribute to finding viable solutions to migration-related issues and to promote cooperation between origin and transit countries, including in terms of combating human trafficking.
“Europe, a stronger global actor” is the third pillar announced by Bucharest. The main line of action in this field must start from the joint commitments made under the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy (EUGS), Romanian authorities have said.
Viorica Dancila: “In terms of security policy, we will promote the strengthening of the EU’s defense and security capabilities, which are complementary to the similar processes within NATO. At the same time, we must focus on our close vicinity, which means continuing the EU enlargement policy. This year’s celebration of 10 years since the launch of the Eastern Partnership will be an important moment in this respect. Special attention must also be paid to the Western Balkans. Also, we will support the implementation of the Union’s commitments at international level. The key elements are promoting the Union’s trade interests, modernising the multilateral trade system and expanding economic partnership and free trade agreements.”
The fourth pillar of Romania’s presidency of the Council of the EU is Europe of common values. Racism, intolerance, xenophobia, populism, anti-Semitism and hate speech must be firmly combated, while at the same time promoting the equal treatment to which all member states and their citizens aspire.
(translated by: Daniel Bilt, Elena Enache)