RADIO ROMÂNIA ACTUALITĂŢI (January 10, 08.30 a.m.) – „Matinal” – „Morning Call”
Anchor-man Cătălin Cîrnu – It’s Thursday, January 10, 2019, when we have a first European test for Romania. We are talking about a premiere for our country, which took over for the first time, obviously, the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, for the next 6 months. The first major event, let’s say, is the 2-day visit of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the College of Commissioners, who are in Bucharest today and tomorrow. On January 30, for example, there will be a meeting of defence ministers in the Member States, but we can find out more details today from our guest of the “Morning Call”, the Prime Minister of Romania, Viorica Dăncilă. Good morning!
Viorica Dăncilă: Good morning!
Anchor-man: It is surely a full day today, and I would like to know the great projects of our country, Romania, for this mandate at the presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Viorica Dăncilă: As you said, we are at our first experience of this kind, in an atypical context, as the legislative procedure is shorter in the context of the elections to the European Parliament and the large number of dossiers waiting to be finalized or to be addressed creates a great pressure on the presidency of Romania at the Council of the European Union. There is political will from the European institutions and, of course, from the Member States to complete as many possible dossiers as possible by the end of this legislative cycle, because we must not forget that Romania closes the 2014-2019 Strategic Agenda. A complex and very important dossier relevant for the continuity and future of European Union policies is certainly the Multi-Annual Financial Framework, a dossier which we intend to advance as far as possible in the spirit of the mandate of the European Council in the winter of 2018. Beyond the existing themes, we cannot exclude other issues, the so-called crisis situations, to which, of course, we will be asked to react. These situations challenge any presidency of the Council of the European Union, be it of a newer or older EU member. I hope that we have a professional, pragmatic and, of course, consensus-based performance regardless of the issues that would arise or be on the negotiating table we will manage.
Anchor-man: Speaking of the Multiannual Financial Framework, which you have mentioned, please give me the opportunity to also remind our listeners that this Framework actually plans all the EU expenditure. Do you think a political agreement can be reached during this mandate at the EU Council Presidency?
Viorica Dăncilă: No, no. We have an ambitious yet realistic approach. I said that I hope we make important steps, but I do not think we will get a political agreement because there are different views on this issue from the Member States which the EU Council of December 2018 actually pointed out.
Anchor-man: There are many important milestones on the agenda, but from your point of view, which is the most difficult dossier of the next 6 months.
Viorica Dăncilă: Certainly, the Multiannual Financial Framework, because depending on the way we manage this dossier, on the way we get an agreement on this framework, the other policies shall be considered, whether we are talking about traditional policies – and I refer here to the Common Agricultural Policy or to the Cohesion Policy – or about migration, asylum, foreign policy. All our decisions for the next period which impacts each Member State will depend on how we manage the Multiannual Financial Framework. Of course, we have other challenges which have to address – I refer to Brexit, to the future of the EU post-Brexit – some very important dossiers, on which we will have to reach a consensus among Member States.
Anchor-man: Which makes us immediately think of the Romanians who are living and working in the UK, in the Brexit context. How can they be protected, for example?
Viorica Dăncilă: We respect Britain’s decision to withdraw from the EU, but we must also ensure that we limit the negative consequences of this withdrawal. The most effective instrument in this respect is the agreed withdrawal agreement politically agreed by EU leaders and Prime Minister Theresa May, which represents a fair and balanced compromise. The agreement will ensure legal certainty, both for the business environment and for the citizens, which guarantees the preservation of the rights they enjoy today. The Union’s priority in these negotiations was to protect the rights of European citizens, including of course those of Romanians living, working or studying in the UK. I believe that citizens must remain our priority in the coming period, and our goal must be, regardless of the scenario to which negotiations will evolve, to minimize as far as possible the negative effects that could affect their lives. We also need to support the efforts of the European Commission, the Lead Negotiator and the other European institutions to ensure the necessary institutional framework for any of the scenarios that will take shape in the coming period. I believe that maintaining the unity of the Member States around the principles established at the level of the European Union remains a major objective in this dossier and in this regard, we will create the appropriate framework to facilitate the dialogue between the EU 27 Member States this time on the next steps. Let us return to the citizens, by underlining the special importance Romania gives to the issue of mobility, particularly in terms of respecting the principles of reciprocity and non-discrimination between Member States.
Anchor-man: Please do.
Viorica Dăncilă: In this context, the discussions on future European Union – UK relations, Romania will support a more ambitious approach to future cooperation in this area, especially as regards the continued application of the principles of coordination of social security systems. I am convinced that this would be for the benefit of European citizens in the UK as well as of the British citizens living in the Member States of the European Union.
Anchor-man: Obviously, we also think of the British living and working in Romania. Talking about difficult dossiers – so many questions come to me now – but I would like you to tell me a few words on migration. Do you think that a consensus can be reached at the level of the EU Member States?
Viorica Dăncilă: Migration is an extremely difficult and controversial dossier with many dimensions and areas of action. Over the last few years this dossier was on the European agenda, and at the same time reflects one of the major concerns of the European citizens. We are fully aware of the importance that the Member States and all European institutions give to this issue, as well as the increased attention paid to the subject in the European public environment. As the experience of the previous presidencies has shown, it is not at all an easy and predictable subject. I can tell you that we will do our best to try to move towards a common vision on the Common European Asylum System. We will continue to support from this new position of the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union the steps and instruments for a comprehensive approach to the phenomenon, by continuing cooperation initiatives on the external dimension, in dialogue with third countries of origin and transit, by firmly supporting efforts of strengthening external borders, but also by pursuing internal efforts towards balanced solutions that meet the differences of vision and expectations of the Member States. As you said, it is an extremely difficult dossier, on which we hope to get a consensus.
Anchor-man: I am sure you have other topics on today’s and tomorrow’s agenda, which you will address in Bucharest, with the President of the European Commission and its representatives. We are living a historical moment for all of us, as if I am not mistaken the next time Romanian takes over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union will be in 14 years, when, of course, we will not even confront the Brexit dossier. Thank you for all these details, for all this information! I wish you a good day, for you will surely have a full day!
Viorica Dăncilă: Thank you!