Speech by Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă at the stocktaking conference on the exercise of the Romanian EU Council Presidency
I will present today a review of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council, alongside Minister George Ciamba.
It has been a successful tenure in which Romania has proven its strong attachment to European values and has acted to strengthen the European project, for a Union of the citizens, of our liberties, our efforts and our combined capacities.
In the six- month mandate, we have proven efficiency, promptitude, and professionalism, given that the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council took place in a complex and dynamic context, marked by European election, and also the Brexit related developments, by an ever-changing international environment.
The Presidency of the EU Council has had a special significance for Romania which has led to significant results, both for us, as Member State as well as for the European Union as a whole.
The Romanian Government, the teams of diplomats and experts as well the Permanent Representation of Romania to the European Union have made sustained efforts over these six months.
Romanians can be proud of what we have succeeded in doing, of our results as a country!
Romania has done its duty and has proven that it is a responsible Member State, preoccupied with advancing the European agenda for the benefit of citizens. This was the main expectation of the European partners of our mandate. Their praise and reactions at the end of the six –month Presidency prove us that we have been successful in our approach.
We reconfirmed the fact that Romania has a deep and accurate understanding of the European context, of the decision –making process at the EU level and the sensibilities of the Member States.
We confirmed that Romania has an important say in defining the European project.
Our actions fell under the motto of the presidency- Cohesion, a common European value, to which we circumscribed our entire activity. We promoted cohesion among the Member States, regions and communities, among citizens.
We acted in this manner with the belief that the European Union can progress, in the spirit of the founding ideas of the European project, only by maintaining cohesion and bridging all gaps among the Member States.
In a strong Europe, all the citizens’ rights and freedoms are observed, and nobody is left behind.
In order to have a more accurate picture of our efforts during this term, I would like to mention some data on the results of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council.
The review is impressive: about 2,500 meetings and events, of which over 2,000 meetings of working groups, 64 EU Council Ministerial meetings, a total of 300 events organized in Romania, as well as hosting the Sibiu Summit.
In terms of results, we can also speak of a more than generous review: 90 legislative dossiers closed in a record time of three months until the end of European Parliament’s legislative activity, on average one dossier each day. To these, we may add 84 EU Council Conclusions adopted on multiple topics of common interest, numerous Progress Reports of the Presidency developed, Council Decisions approved.
At the same time, the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council prepared and endorsed the EU stance in various international fora.
In addition, it was an extremely dense schedule of visits and political meetings attended by members of the Romanian Government.
As Prime Minister, I paid six working visits to Brussels, I received the visit of several of my counterparts in Bucharest, and I participated in several high –level events held in the context of the Romanian Presidency.
We have campaigned for the equal observance of the rights and freedoms of all citizens, for the promotion of Romania’s interests and for instituting dialogue as the main instrument of the decision –making process.
We have had good consultations with European leaders on the dossiers on the EU agenda and on our priorities as a Member State.
Romania was the first state holding the rotating presidency that presented, at the level of Prime Minister, the mandate’s priorities in the plenum of the European Economic and Social Committee.
We maintained a constant dialogue with the representatives of the European Committee of the Regions as we wanted an increasingly active involvement of all those interested in strengthening the European project.
We advocated advancing the social dimension, promoting gender equality and combating anti-Semitism, xenophobia and hate speech.
We campaigned for the“Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration” to be drafted under the auspices of the Romanian Presidency, an instrument that provides the basis for the consultation of children and young people in the decision-making process of the European Union.
Through what we did during our tenure, alongside the colleagues, the Ministers, and the expert teams, we achieved concrete results and progress which , as we intended in the work program presented at the beginning of our mandate, make the Union more cohesive, more unitary, stronger, in line with the motto of our Presidency.
We have achieved visible, sustainable results, to which citizens can easily and clearly report, we have been able to finalize and advance negotiations on important dossiers that have beneficial effects for the lives of European citizens.
We had several achievements on all four key pillars we set out in our program of priorities: Europe of Convergence, safer Europe, Europe- Global Actor, Europe of Common Values. The on-time results will be detailed by Minister- delegate for European Affairs, Mr. George Ciamba.
As you well know, the EU agenda under the mandate of the Romanian Presidency was marked by the developments on a number of horizontal dossiers of major relevance to the future of the European project, such as the Multi-Annual Financial Framework 2021-2027, the management of the Brexit process or the definition of the Strategic Agenda 2019-2024.
At the same time, a number of decisions of great importance have been formulated during our term, in relation to many of the EU’s policies, such as those in the social, energy and climate change area, the Digital Single Market, as well as the EU internal security and the Economic and Monetary Union.
Following the mandate of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council, both the European path of the Western Balkan states, the European Union’s commitment to the Eastern Partnership partners, and the geopolitical relevance of the Black Sea are re-positioned on the EU’s agenda.
The Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union proved dynamic and capable of substantial sustained effort, qualities that contributed decisively to the significant advance of the negotiations. We had very good cooperation with all European actors and the Member States.
Our results ultimately reflect the work of all Member States at the Council level and the support of all European institutional actors, without which our mission would have been much more difficult.
We have succeeded in building bridges, in strengthening the dialogue between the Member States and the European institutions, between the Member States and the citizens, to consolidate the trust of the citizens in the European institutions.
I will highlight a few elements whereby the Romanian Presidency remains in the institutional memory of the Union:
We contributed to defining the Union’s future;
We acted for greater cohesion in Europe;
We worked for a safer Europe and for strengthening the external borders;
We acted for promoting digitalization and innovation;
We delivered results for strengthening the Energy Union and combating climate change;
We worked for strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union and for a greater resistance of the European economy to crises;
We contributed to strengthening the EU’s role in the neighborhood and the world;
We maintained active the Union’s enlargement agenda, a policy with special strategic value;
These results were possible only through a sustained work at the level of Government and the entire Romanian public administration.
I would like to publicly thank all those who have contributed to this joint effort: the Permanent Representation of Romania to the European Union, the Unit for Preparing the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who coordinated this process under the guidance of Minister George Ciamba, also the Romanian experts who worked in the institutions in Bucharest, and also Romania’s diplomatic missions abroad.
Due to the dedication of all these people involved, Romania has acted throughout this time also in its role as presidency of the Council of the European Union, to facilitate consensus among member states, contributing to advance the European agenda and thus create opportunities for our citizens , in line with the responsibility assumed upon taking office.
The Romanian Presidency has achieved its established objectives in relation to the profoundly pro-European approach that defines the Romanian society.
The exercise of the Presidency was Romania’s maturity exam as EU member state, the exam of our ability to perform in a complex European context, to demonstrate that we know how to evaluate the variables that condition our activity and that we are a capable and solid European administration, which makes a direct, genuine contribution to the development of the European project.
The achievements of the Presidency and the appreciation of our partners strengthen our self -confidence, our confidence in our European capability and performance.
Romania reconfirmed that it is a strong European voice, a serious partner that leaves a strong foundation for the next chapter of the European construction.
Finally, I wish great success to the Finnish Presidency of the EU Council in its mission for the next six months.
Following the experience of this mandate, Romania will continue to work towards meeting the objective of strengthening the European Union, European policies and promoting solidarity and unity within the EU.
I welcome the fact that the negotiations between the Member States, within the European institutional framework, produced a formula aimed at the appointments at the helm of the European institutions.
The Government of Romania has all readiness to work with the new leadership of the European institutions to advance the European project.