The Three Seas Initiative Summit
The Summit of the Three Seas Initiative, a flexible political platform set up in 2015, brought to Bucharest, early this week, leaders of the 12 EU member states located between the Baltic Sea, the Adriatic Sea and the Black Sea. As a first this year, the meeting was also attended by the European Commission President, Jean Claude Juncker, and also as a first, a Business forum was held on the sidelines of the event. The summit was a success, yielding tangible results, the president of Romania Klaus Iohannis, said after the meeting:
"The most important result was probably the expression of the participants' political support for a regional list of priority interconnection projects, in the fields of energy, transport and digital technology, a list that was drawn up based on the contributions of the countries that are part of the initiative, Romania included. The selection of these projects was done against criteria such as regional impact, economic feasibility and compatibility with the EU priorities and policies."
The Three Seas Initiative supports the EU's common goal to bring closer together the East and the West of the continent, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Cretu, has said:
"It is a legitimate and highly relevant initiative. It contributes to regional development and it amplifies the cohesion process at EU level. It is an initiative that can provide prosperity as well as security for the member states. The European commission sees this summit as a unique opportunity to reiterate the importance, for the entire European Union, of a high level of connectivity in central and Eastern Europe, in terms of energy, transport and the digital."A special guest at the summit in Bucharest was the US Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, who said that Europe can count on the US as a trustworthy partner in the energy field, saying that energy security is tantamount to national security.
Meeting of the leadership of the Social Democratic Party
Liviu Dragnea, the leader of the Social Democratic Party, the senior partner in the ruling coalition in Romania, was reconfirmed on Friday as president of the party, after winning a vote of confidence held during a special meeting of the leadership of the party. On the occasion, Dragnea announced that a new meeting of the party's leadership would be held in October, with a government reshuffle on the agenda. Friday's meeting was held after a few top-level members signed an open letter requesting the resignation of Liviu Dragnea as president of the party and as speaker of the Chamber of Deputies. The authors of the letter claimed, among other things, that Dragnea's legal problems had turned into a major weakness for the party, particularly considering the forthcoming European Parliament and presidential elections due in 2019 and local and legislative elections scheduled for 2020. The signatories also requested that PM Viorica Dǎncilă, the executive president of the Social Democratic Party, should act as interim president until the next special congress of the party.
The "family" referendum
The Romanian left-of-centre Government on Tuesday passed the technical details related to the organisation, on October 6 and 7, of a referendum on redefining "family". A day before, the Constitutional Court had decided that the law for the revision of the Constitution which stipulates that the family is based on the freely consented union between a man and a woman, and not between spouses as it is stipulated at present, observes constitutional provisions. The law for the revision of the Constitution in the sense of redefining the concept of family is based on a citizens' initiative of some Christian organizations that managed to obtain 3 million signatures. The initiative is being contested by the associations defending the civil rights and liberties, including those of sexual minorities. PM Viorica Dancila has asked the institutions involved in the organisation of the referendum to act responsibly and begin preparations for the smooth-running of the event. Leaders of the Romanian Orthodox Church have called on people to say YES in the referendum. On the other hand, representatives of "RESPECT. The platform for Rights and Freedoms", made up of 110 organisations, call on people to boycott the referendum, which they see as dangerous and likely to divide society.
High level meeting in Salzburg
European Council president, Donald Tusk, has announced, at the end of the informal meeting of the European leaders, held in Salzburg, Austria, that the EU wants to finalize the Brexit negotiations by October, followed by a summit in November that would render the agreement with London formal. The summit, where Romania was represented by President Klaus Iohannis, focused on migration and internal security. The Austrian Presidency of the EU Council has presented the implementation stage of two projects presented in summer, namely, the platforms of disembarking migrants from outside the EU and the centres controlled from inside the European Union. Romania's priority is as close as possible a relationship between the EU and the UK after Brexit, in terms of security and foreign policy. Bucharest wants a unitary and coherent voice of the EU in the process of negotiation with Britain, in order to forge a fair withdrawal accord for both parties. In terms of internal security, President Iohannis said Romania wants to strengthen European borders, both by means of regulations and by increasing FRONTEX personnel.