On the morning of March 27, 2019, the minister delegate for European affairs, George Ciamba, attended the European Parliament plenary debate on the outcomes of the European Council of March 21-22, 2019.
The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU made the core of the debates: the speakers welcomed the decisions made by the Heads of State and Government to avoid the unwanted scenario of a no-deal withdrawal of the UK from the Union and expressed their solidarity with the pro-European British movements.
The President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, as well as the leaders of the main political groups of the European Parliament reiterated that it would be vital for the UK to identify a material solution in the two coming weeks.
In his exchange of opinions with Michel Barnier, Chief Brexit Negotiator of the European Union, and Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, the Romanian minister reassured that the Romanian Presidency was determined to support the efforts towards a solution that would bring more clarity to the Brexit process.
Other points of interest in the debates included the EU-China relationship and the European Council conclusions on the economy of the EU, the members of the European Parliament insisting on outlining clear actions in view of the upcoming EU-China Summit.
Later in the day, Minister Delegate George Ciamba represented the EU Council Presidency in the 10th Meeting of the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee, held on the margins of the EP plenary sitting.
In his speech, the Romanian official emphasised that the advancement of the enlargement policy was one of the priorities of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU and reiterated that it was important for the EU to keep focusing on the Western Balkans in order to safeguard the stability, security and development of its immediate neighbourhood. He also highlighted the advancement of the EU prospects both for Serbia and the other partner countries in the region, based on their own merits and according to the enlargement criteria.
In that connection, Minister Delegate George Ciamba expressed his appreciation for the commitment of the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee and pointed out that its work provided an important support to Serbia’s accession process, which reconfirmed the EP’s larger interest in advancing enlargement.
The Romanian minister delegate reaffirmed that the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU supported Serbia’s pathway towards the EU and the advancement of the accession negotiations with Serbia. At the same time, he underlined that it was important for Serbia to make sensible progress in the reform process, which would enable the opening of new negotiation chapters. He also pointed out that positive developments in areas such as fundamental rights, public administration reform, economic governance and the EU-facilitated Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue would continue to play a critical role in the overall pace of the accession negotiations with Serbia.
In connection to the future European Commission progress report and the adoption of the Council Conclusions on enlargement and the stabilisation and association process, the Romanian official encouraged Serbia to firmly continue its reform efforts, aimed at transforming the society to the benefit of the citizens.
The minister also referred to the commitment of the Romanian Presidency of the EU to fostering a structured dialogue with the young people in the Western Balkans and, in that connection, he announced that the Presidency would organise a conference on the European aspirations of the young generation in the Western Balkans, to be held in Bucharest on May 28-29. He also pointed out that Serbia would participate in the quadrilateral consultations to be held in Bucharest on March 29, 2019, and recalled the discussions with the candidate countries in the context of the informal meeting of the General Affairs Council, held in Bucharest on March 11-12, 2019.