Minister for Foreign Affairs Teodor Meleșcanu participated on Monday, June 17, 2019, in the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) meeting in Luxemburg. The main topic on the agenda was a discussion regarding the status and the perspectives of implementing the EU Global Strategy. The discussion was jointly attended by ministers for foreign affairs and ministers of defence. The FAC agenda also included the topic of streamlining the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The ministers for foreign affairs also approached topical issues on the foreign policy agenda, such as the situation in the Republic of Moldova and the evolutions in Sudan.
The ministers adopted a series of Council Conclusions, among which: the EU Strategy on Central Asia; the EU Commitment to regional cooperation in the Black Sea region; Security and defence within the EU Global Strategy; the EU Action aiming at strengthening rule-based multilateralism; Guidelines in the human rights field regarding safe drinking water and sanitation. The ministers for foreign affairs adopted a Joint Statement on the EU-Pacific Alliance and a EU-28 Joint Statement on the situation in Sudan.
In his speech, Minister Teodor Meleșcanu welcomed the adoption of Conclusions on the EU role in regional cooperation in the Black Sea region as one of the priorities of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council. The Romanian official expressed his appreciation for the political message sent out by the EU and the member states in support of regional cooperation. He highlighted that the set of Conclusions, together with the Common Maritime Agenda – adopted in Bucharest on May 21, 2019 – and the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda for the Black Sea – launched in Bucharest on May 8, 2019 – represent tangible steps in sustainably re-entering the Black Sea on the European Union Agenda and in re-triggering the process of implementing the Black Sea Synergy. Minister Teodor Meleșcanu referred to the contribution of the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council and stated his appreciation and satisfaction for the major contribution of the European institutions – the European External Action Service and the European Commission – in advancing the file and negotiating a series of programming documents of high importance for Romania, especially in the context of holding the EU Council Presidency.
The minister for foreign affairs also welcomed the adoption of Conclusions on the EU Strategy for Central Asia, a document which represents the basis of the European Union’s new vision for a consolidated and modern partnership with Central Asian countries. In this context, he highlighted our country’s active support for advancing relations between the EU and Central Asia, as promoter of connectivity, modernisation and sustainable development.
The discussions on streamlining the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy were targeted on the actual ways to apply the provisions of the treaty, but also on the need for a stronger profile of the EU in the context of promoting strategic values and priorities in the multilateral environment, aspects which had also been included in the EU leaders’ Declaration adopted at the summit in Sibiu. Minister for Foreign Affairs Teodor Meleșcanu highlighted Romania’s contribution to this exercise, as this topic is one of priority interest for our country also while holding the Presidency of the EU Council. He indicated Romania’s supporting role in facilitating the process of reflecting on this topic, in the context of adopting the Strategic Agenda and in the perspective of the future institutional cycle.
During a joint meeting, the ministers for foreign affairs and ministers of defence from the member states evaluated the implementation stage and the perspectives of reaching the priorities set forth three years ago within the EU’s Global Agenda. The discussion also included a review on the report presented by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini. The officials confirmed again the validity of topics identified in the text of the Strategy and suggested additional ways of action. The context outlined a major interest in continuing advancement in the following fields: security and defence, internal and partners’ resilience, integrated approach to conflicts and crises, regional cooperation, rules-based governance and multilateralism.
The minister for foreign affairs reiterated the firm support for continuing to implement the EU Global Strategy for security and defence, as Romania’s commitment to a principled political option. He expressed his appreciation for the progress and achievements obtained in the Security and Defence Policy, including the civilian dimension, and highlighted the rewards for a coherent approach between the response to hybrid threats, the consolidation of resilience and strategic communication. He restated the need to consolidate the EU-NATO cooperation on the politically-assumed coordinates of the past years, and he promoted the transatlantic relation as a fundamental pillar of EU security.
The ministers also exchanged evaluations on the evolutions in the Republic of Moldova. There was a restatement of support for democratic principles and rule of law, as well as the importance of resuming the reform process according to the commitments taken on by the European Union Association Agreement, whereby financial and expertise support from the EU might be resumed. It was deemed that the unstable situation has not been overcome yet, which will continue to require special attention from the EU and its strategic partners.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Teodor Meleșcanu expressed his satisfaction for the release of the political crisis in Chișinău, as the Democratic Party leaders wisely decided to accept a peaceful transition. He expressed his concern for security aspects and inferentially for the Transnistria file, highlighting the importance that the EU should continue their support so that any decision aimed at solving the conflict should be reached within the 5+2 format, in full observance of territorial integrity and without affecting Moldova’s road to Europe. He suggested that the EU Council workgroups, with the support of the European Commission, should start the process of drafting a comprehensive and ambitious plan of measures for the assistance, counselling and financial support for the Republic of Moldova, which should support and encourage the reform processes and the European political agenda. Minister Teodor Meleșcanu ensured the European partners that, at a bilateral level as well, Romania will continue to strongly support the Republic of Moldova’s road to Europe and the necessary reforms.
During the working lunch, the ministers informally exchanged opinions with Jordanian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Safadi, on the recent evolutions in the Middle East. The minister for foreign affairs expressed his appreciation for the role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in the region, namely that of a pillar of stability, reiterating our country’s support for consolidating the EU-Jordan relation. Regarding the Middle East Peace Process, he highlighted Romania’s traditional stand, that of consistently supporting the need for rightful and continued resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and of the UN Security Council, by implementing the solution of the two states, Israel and Palestine, which should co-exist in peace and security.