Viorica Dăncilă: Good evening! I will make the 100- day stocktaking report of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council.
In each of the 100 days of mandate, the Government of Romania proved efficiency, determination and the capacity to find good solutions for the European citizens.
The PSD – ALDE (Social Democratic Party- Alliance of Liberals and Democrats)ministers have coordinated difficult dossiers, some postponed from the previous presidencies’ terms, have negotiated and brought them to completion.
We have proved that we have the strength and the skills to unlock talks regarding important issues for the European future and approach them in a practical manner.
We have proved alongside the Permanent Representation and the Ministries’ experts that we have a strong, responsible team.
I am sure that after this 6-month term Romania will be talked about as a country with a strong and respected voice in Europe.
This is confirmed to me at all of the meetings with the European officials who congratulate us for the successes of our rotating presidency’s term.
In the first 100-day of this term, the Romanian Presidency has dealt with over 1,100 events and meetings, which means an average 11 meetings daily, organized in the country and in Brussels.
This shows our capacity to bring to the dialogue table all the actors with a word in designing the European future.
As Prime Minister, I got involved in all debates on the most complex topics under discussion, and I actively participated in several events with political visibility.
I will point out some of them:
The European Summit of Cities and Regions – an event devoted to increasing economic, social and territorial convergence;
The Tripartite Social Summit on “A stronger, united and future-oriented Europe”. In those summits, I highlighted the importance of the cohesion principle for shaping a united, cohesive and efficient Europe so that no one is left behind;
The European Women’s Council – We advocated better involvement and representation of women in politics, promotion of women in leadership positions, promotion of the principle of gender equality and the increased women’s participation in the labor market.
In line with our objective of promoting European values, we have continued the steps taken in February in Brussels at the conference „The Fight against antisemitism: a common approach to better protect Jewish communities in Europe – from policy to action“.
Thus, we held in Bucharest, in March, other important event devoted to this topic, which represented a good opportunity to outline once again our commitment towards promoting common values and combating any type of discrimination.
It was a very intense period in terms of legislative activity at the European level, considering that the start of the campaign for European elections prompted the need to keep to a tight timetable for negotiations with the European Parliament.
Our efforts materialized in substantial results in the negotiations on active legislative dossiers – we managed to finalize as many as 90 legislative dossiers, as they are all confirmed in the Council and in a great part in the European Parliament.
Also, during the 100-day term, the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council chaired negotiations materialized in the adoption of 24 Conclusions of the Council on different topics of interest at European level.
I also assured the EU representation at six plenary sessions of the European Parliament, participating in 33 debates on various European topics. Moreover, the Romanian representatives co-signed as EU Council Presidency, 22 legislative documents together with the European Parliament.
I salute the formal adoption in the Council earlier this week, as final step of the legislative procedure, of the common rules for the gas market, those for copyright, of the rules governing contracts for the sale of goods, and contracts for the supply of digital content as well as the specific functioning framework of the Research and Innovation Programme Horizon Europe.
These are dossiers with major impact in EU, very complex and difficult to negotiate, which were finalized in Romania’s term, through the consistent efforts of Government, teams of experts coordinated by Ministers and of the Permanent Representation of Romania to the European Union.
We have succeeded in closing the review of the Natural Gas Directive, an extremely difficult and complex dossier for the Member States and for the European energy security equation.
The Romanian Presidency played an essential role in these negotiations which guarantee that the rules of the Energy Union will also apply to gas pipelines to and from third countries.
By reviewing the Natural Gas Directive, we sought to establish a stable, transparent, non-discriminatory regulatory framework and we brought more coherence in the relation with third countries.
Directive on copyright in the digital single market
The new regulations will help create a functioning copyright market with economic and social benefits for both creators and consumers.
As regards the Horizon Europe Framework Programme, we obtained the increase of the financial resources to extend participation in this programme and to reduce the pay gap for researchers at EU level.
Also, the common understanding reached by the Presidency and the European Parliament will contribute to reducing disparities and promoting excellence in research and innovation.
An important milestone for the next period is represented by elections for the European Parliament that will take place on May 23-26, 2019. As the Presidency of the EU Council, we have worked to create an enabling fair environment for elections.
We established clearer rules for the protection of personal data and for sanctioning their use in order to manipulate the conduct and results of elections.
At the same time, we pursued at Council level the coordination of Member States’ efforts to implement two key mechanisms: the European Cooperation Network on Elections and the Rapid Alert System allowing Member States to exchange information and send real time alerts in the event of incidents of disinformation.
The Romanian Government has been actively involved in the negotiations for Brexit.
In our mandate, 15 legislative proposals were finalized and formally adopted at the Council level to limit the effects of a no-deal withdrawal of the UK.
Our goal is to protect citizens and the business environment. That is why we made efforts and obtained decisions in key areas such as road and air transport, coordination of social security systems, Erasmus +, visas, and the functioning of the European budget for 2019.
In our 100 –day mandate, we have succeeded in reaching common understandings with the European Parliament on a number of priority sectoral proposals for the forthcoming Financial Framework, such as the European Defence Fund, the Digital Europe Programme 2021-2027, the Connecting Europe Facility, the Horizon Europe Programme, Space Programme, Justice Programme, Rights and Values Programme, InvestEU Programme or LIFE Programme.
At the same time, the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council continued negotiations on the overall architecture of the future European budget which is to be agreed at the level of the European Council this autumn.
We are currently focusing on drawing up a simplified and balanced negotiating document to facilitate European leaders’ debates at the June European Council and the decisions in the second half of the year.
The Romanian Presidency has also made considerable efforts to advance negotiations on the post-2020 cohesion policy legislative package.
In the field of migration, the Romanian Presidency contributed to the advancement of the discussions on all the components aimed at a comprehensive approach to this phenomenon, in line with the objectives formulated at the level of the European Council.
We succeeded in reviewing the legal framework for the functioning of the European Migration Liaison Officers’ Network.
We completed the negotiations on the extension of the mandate of the European Border Guard and Coast Guard Agency, one of the major security priorities of the EU in recent times.
As far as the Union of Capital Markets is concerned, the rotating presidency held by Romania succeeded in closing some fundamental dossiers aimed at contributing to the more efficient financing of investment projects, with effects on economic growth and development.
As I have said, all the actions of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union have at core the citizens and the respect for their rights.
I mention here the conclusion of the negotiations and the adoption of several European regulations aiming at better working conditions for citizens, such as: the Regulation on the establishment of a European Labor Authority or the Directive on the transparency and predictibility of working conditions.
I would like to offer you some other relevant examples of the benefits that the Romanian worker will enjoy:
limitation to six months of trial periods;
the possibility to request, after at least six months of seniority with the same employer, a more predictable and safer job;
the right to receive free training on the basis of Union or national legislation.
But the directive also addresses the employers supporting their work. For them, certain administrative tasks are removed, allowing them to electronically transmit the necessary information to the public administration. This will help improve fair competition between companies on the Internal Market.
Romania strongly supports the Internal Market and we want Romanian citizens, as consumers, to benefit from products of the same quality level with similarly presented products marketed in other EU Member States.
I have extended due attention to strengthening consumers’ rights in the European Union.
In this regard, I mention the proposal for the Omnibus Directive, which introduces regulations on online transparency, customized price, and will help Member States to manage issues related to the elimination of the double standard.
Romania has completed its work on this dossier and awaits the final vote of the European Parliament in its plenary meeting today. In May, the Council will formally adopt this directive.
Support for farmers and better food security
Maintaining the Common Agricultural Policy and supporting an adequate level of funding for direct payments and rural development is a major priority of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council.
In this respect, Romania made their point in the AGRI committee in the European Parliament on the occasion of the vote on the future Common Agricultural Policy.
Thus, we obtained the elimination of the mandatory capping of agricultural subsidies, which ensures a balanced development of all European farmers without discrimination.
At the same time, we came to an agreement with the European Parliament on the General Food Law, which will allow citizens to have easier access to full information on food safety and human health.
And in the field of environment and climate change, the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council has made considerable progress by finalizing negotiations on the decarbonisation and modernization of transport in the EU but also the fulfillment of the objectives of the Paris agreement by cutting CO2 emissions by 30% for new trucks and buses by 2030.
Also, for a cleaner environment, we finalized the dossier on the stricter rules on products and packaging that are among the top ten polluting items as frequency of occurrence on European beaches.
Another area in which we have made important progress is transport, where we finalized negotiations on 12 cases concerning both road, rail, naval and air transport.
I mention here the measures taken to limit the effects of Brexit in the field, as well as those related to the improvement of the safety of the participants in traffic or those related to the increase of transport competitiveness.
In all the meetings we have had in the first 3 months of our mandate, we have made progress in relevant areas, such as the Western Balkans, the EU-Turkey relationship, EU-NATO cooperation. A high-level conference devoted to this topic took place today in Bucharest. We also extended attention, of course, to the transatlantic relationship.
We also intend to capitalize on the efforts already made to mark the anniversary of the Eastern Partnership, the EU’s involvement in Black Sea regional cooperation, the stimulation of cooperation with Central Asia, especially in the key of connectivity.
The debate on the future of the EU will continue over the next months. Romania is naturally among the Member States that promote the consolidation of the Union and the continuation of the process of European integration, in a united and cohesive manner.
We believe in the European project and its future.
We want a more deeply integrated, inclusive, more cohesive Union, a Union which, although marked by the Brexit process, has the ability to emerge strong and confident following this challenge.
Romania has consistently promoted the importance of maintaining unity within the EU, without geographic, economic or social divisions, old Member States versus new Member States, or different speeds of European integration.
We also need a secure Union capable of providing answers and solutions to current threats to citizens’ security, internal or external ones.
Last but not least, we support a more active Union at global level, with appropriate instruments and resources to support this goal.
The Government of Romania has focused its efforts in this respect and I hold the firm belief that the results of our work contribute to increasing citizens’ confidence in the future of the European project.
We will continue this approach for the coming period, including through the actions and steps that I will promote as Prime Minister, for an effective rotating Presidency that delivers the expected, desired and useful results to the Member States, European citizens and the business environment.