Romania can ensure a reasonable presidency of the Council of the European Union, despite difficult internal circumstances, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis told an interview with the Austrian publication Kurier on Saturday.
Asked how how the disputes with the ruling party can be avoided on the rule of law and the fight against corruption during the presidency of the EU Council, Iohannis said he opposes anyone who puts at risk the fight against corruption and the rule of law in Romania, whether he/she is or not a member of the government, and that he uses all the powers the constitution grants him to prevent the adoption of laws that weaken the judiciary.
Even in these difficult domestic circumstances, Romania can ensure a reasonable presidency of the EU Council, Iohannis said, expressing hope that, despite the controversies and diametrically opposed ideas between himself and the government on justice and the rule of law, the disputes will not have a negative impact on the presidency of the EU Council.
In relation to the priorities of this presidency, which Romania will exercise in the first half of 2019, the Romanian president considers that a common vision and the preservation of the European values must be a priority for all member countries. This common vision means that the preoccupation for unity of the Union, cohesion and solidarity among the member states must be at the forefront, the Romanian president stated.
He brought to mind the main files to be handled during the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union: the exit of the United Kingdom from the Union, the multi-annual financial framework, migration, the debate on the future of the EU.
A key project of the presidency to be held by Romania will be the Informal European Council to be held in Sibiu on 9 May 2019 and will be dedicated to the debate on the future of the EU. Iohannis expressed the hope that the meeting will provide a clear and positive outlook for the Union and raise awareness among European citizens.
In his opinion, people expect clear answers to their issues, and Romania wants to get concrete results for citizens.
In the Kurier interview, the head of the Romanian state voiced his support for the EU enlargement policy as a tool of stability and security on the European continent, and with regard to migration, he proposed as a solution a multi-level approach, expressing his confidence that during the presidency exercised by Romania a rapprochement of the very different stances on this issue will be managed.
Asked whether the European Parliament Elections in 2019 will strengthen populist and national right-wing parties, Iohannis said that the way the challenges of Brexit, the crisis of migration and the future EU budget will be politically handled will determine the future of the Union after 2019. In his opinion, providing good solutions to these issues could counter the emerging populist tendencies that are a reality.