On March 19, on the margins of the General Affairs Council, the minister delegate for European affairs, George Ciamba, met with the European commissioner for neighbourhood policy and enlargement negotiations, Johannes Hahn.
In their exchange of opinions, George Ciamba underlined that enlargement, a successful EU policy, was included among the priorities of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU. He also reiterated his openness towards a close cooperation with the European Commission and the EU Member States in the framework of the Council, in order to obtain sensible results during the Romanian Presidency, based on the advancements in the reform agenda of the candidate and potentially candidate countries and on the principle of own merits.
The minister delegate for European affairs briefed Commissioner Hahn on the outcomes of the meeting with the candidate countries that was held by the Romanian Presidency on the margins of the informal meeting of the ministers for European affairs (Bucharest, March 11). He further highlighted the expectations of both the candidate countries and of the EU, as transmitted by the Romanian Presidency in line with the European Council Conclusions of June 2018.
In that connection, George Ciamba pointed out the relevance of the enlargement policy in the context of the debate on the future of Europe, as well as the prominence of the EU role on the global arena, which should above all be visible in the EU’s close neighbourhood.
Regarding the developments in the Western Balkans, the minister emphasised that the solution found for the constitutional name of the Republic of North Macedonia was a good example of reconciliation. He reiterated his congratulations for the authorities in Athens and Skopje and expressed his hope that their model would create a positive ripple effect in the region.
The discussions were a good opportunity to outline the events bearing on the Western Balkans that the Romanian Presidency would organise, with accent laid on the conference enjoying the support of the European Commission – for which the minister thanked Commissioner Hahn – on the European aspirations of young people in the region, to be held in Bucharest on May 28-29. The minister explained that the event was designed to bring a manifold perspective to various youth-related issues, from the socio-economic aspects related to the current labour market opportunities, entrepreneurship and innovation to strategic communication, democratic participation and reconciliation, and that it would bring together young people from the Western Balkans and the EU for an exchange of opinions and good practices on those issues.
At the same time, George Ciamba welcomed the organisation during the Romanian Presidency of the EU-Turkey Association Council, the first of its kind since 2015, and reiterated that the dialogue with Ankara should be kept open, since Turkey remains a candidate country and key partner of the EU, taking account of the diversity of common interest fields: energy, transport, migration, the fight against terrorism.