Romania, as the next holder of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, will continue to support the objective of consolidating the Union on the basis of its fundamental values and principles - unity, cohesion, equal treatment and convergence, Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said.
"The reflection on the future of Europe has many challenges, both in terms of a search for the common denominator for our visions and in terms of implicit subjectivity that this process entails. Europe is us, the future of Europe means our future and our contribution to a better and safer world. It will never be easy to translate our aspirations, but the efforts that the European institutions and the member states have put forward and continue to deploy in order to identify the best common solutions are the best guarantee of the solidity of our project," Dancila told a debate in Brussels on Tuesday on the future of the European Union called "Cores and Peripheries in Europe? A Europe NEXT Project," organised by Aspen Romania Institute at the Permanent Representation of Romania to the EU.
She added that "the consensual and pragmatic approach of any EU reforming project is essential to the viability of the entire process."
"This is a solid premise for the evolution of the European Union towards a more integrated and stronger construction capable of capitalising on its successful projects and policies to meet the challenges within and outside the European Union, to the benefit of its citizens. We are working together so that the informal summit in Sibiu, a major event during the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council, marks the beginning of talks on defining the new strategic agenda of the European Union, a document that will provide guidance on the European Union's action on the medium term, all the more relevant in the immediate context of Brexit. It is important for the European Union and the member states to be able to send a clear, positive signal about the ability to continue working together in the same direction to strengthen a strong and unified project dedicated to peace, democracy, freedom, respect for values, human rights and to ensure economic and social wellbeing," added Dancila.
The prime minister underscored that the Romanian citizens are strongly attached to the European idea and that Romania, as the future holder of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, "will continue to support the objective of consolidating the Union on the basis of its fundamental values and principles - unity, cohesion, equal treatment and convergence."
"We still have a union that leaves no member state behind in the process of deepening European integration. We believe that a strong and united Europe in all its political, economic and social dimensions is the best solution for the future of the European design. In a wider context, I believe that Romania has always promoted a consensual approach based on unity, cohesion, solidarity, and the assumption of the Presidency will allow it to continue this role of facilitator of the European decision-making process based on balance and consensus. We will have the opportunity to reconfirm the maturity of our European membership and to influence the future of the European construction, seeking to advance with files of strategic interest, such as the multiannual financial framework, migration, Eurozone reform, innovation, strengthening the role of the Union in its neighbourhood, and, at the same time, we will have the responsibility to shape our behavior at European level by acting to the benefit of all EU member states and their citizens," Dancila said.
She mentioned the aspirations for the Europe of the following decade and said that she wants a strong Europe through unity by meeting the commitments to its citizens and a more European one by promoting genuine European values and stimulating at the level of the citizens the sense of belonging to the European area.
"Europe must be the triumph of this unity over the opposing approaches like north-south, east-west, old member states, new member states, core and periphery, because these fragmentations hinder the process of European integration and undermine efforts to strengthen our Union. We have to be able to overcome this approach of the demarcation lines, the development imbalances in favour of a Europe that will advance through the consonance of its internal voices, its goals. Gaps do not make Europe stronger, more present in the world, nor do they re-connect it with its citizens, but it reduces its capacity to provide results for its citizens. (...) First of all, I believe that we need to invest in the culture of open, constructive dialogue, less focused on contrasting visions and more focused on common points and actions," Dancila said.
She mentioned that there is a common agenda at EU level with multiple projects generating added value in various areas, mentioning energy, the digital industry, economic, and academic areas to the point.
"From this perspective of a convergent Europe, the social dimension should be a major component of the efforts to increase competitiveness. Romania is advocating cohesion and protection for citizens who exercise their right to free movement in the European area, believing that workers' mobility is offset by balanced growth measures. The prosperity of the European Union and its economic security are generated by a smart, adaptable and powerful economic and monetary Union," said Dancila.
The prime minister also mentioned the 2019 elections to the European Parliament.
"That is an opportunity for us, who believe in Europe, to promote a stronger Europe, oriented to its founding principles in harmony with our European spirit. I am confident that 2019 may be a year of restarting the European idea," PM Dancila added.