During the last meeting of the General Affairs Council under the mandate of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council, chaired by Minister Delegate for European Affairs George Ciamba, the Romanian Presidency achieved consensus on the adoption of the Council Conclusions on the enlargement and the stabilisation and association process, a target which matches the strategic priority granted by the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council to the enlargement policy and the advancement of relations with regional partners.
Starting from the assessments and recommendations within the European Commission’s Enlargement Package, published on May 29, 2019, Romania has made sustained efforts in the dialogue with both the member states and with the partners in the region, efforts which were enhanced in the past weeks at the level of the minister delegate and of the diplomatic team of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council, by achieving adoption of a set of Conclusions that is balanced and comprehensive for all partners targeted by the enlargement policy and by the stabilisation and association process.
In this respect, based on a complex negotiation process, there was success in maintaining the positive momentum and the dynamics of the enlargement process, as the Romanian Presidency managed to adopt an ambitious phrasing and a timeline for a clear and substantial decision on this matter, as soon as possible, but no later than October 2019. The efforts made by the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council thus allowed for reaching a consensus on a common position within the EU Council in the context of the European Commission’s recommendations on initiating the accession negotiations with the Republic of North Macedonia and with Albania and as a consequence of the remarkable progress achieved over the past year.
The Conclusions of the Council especially welcome the historical Prespa Agreement, which ended the 27 year old dispute regarding the name between Skopje and Athens, whose implementation during the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council represented a major advancement and an example for solving bilateral disputes in the spirit of the European construct.
The solution, agreed by consensus between all member states, is a positive signal in the sense of preserving a clear European perspective for the partners who take the necessary steps to this end, and a further confirmation of the fact that promoting the enlargement policy, based on internal EU cohesion, contributes to the coherence of the global EU action, as manifested primarily in the immediate vicinity.
The conclusions adopted today further confirm the importance of the enlargement policy for partners and for the European Union in its entirety, as well, and they restate the transforming effect that this process continues to generate in the region. In line with this approach, during its mandate of the Council’s Presidency, Romania has taken constant steps, including by inviting candidate states to the informal events they organised, in order to send out a positive message to partners, an essential one for stimulating the comprehensive reform processes and reinforcing stability in the region.