President Klaus Iohannis said Sunday that the leaders of the 27 member states of the European Union want an agreement on an economic recovery plan after the coronavirus pandemic, but there is still much to negotiate because they are "very complicated" issues.
"The good news, in my opinion, is that everyone wants us to reach an agreement, but from here to an actual agreement it seems that there is still a lot to negotiate, there are very complicated issues - just so people understand why no agreement has yet been reached, We are not just talking about the amount, about amounts; we are talking, for instance, very heatedly, about the proportion between grants, ie funds, practically non-reimbursable, and loans for each country and a total amount. There is a lot of discussion about the conditions for granting these amounts, the so-called conditions for managing or governing the funds, where, of course, some want a lighter approach, more based on national approaches, while others want a very strict control by the European Council or the European Commission, so the problems are complicated," Iohannis said on Sunday in Brussels at a meeting of the leaders of the 27 member states of the European Union where discussions were underway on a post-coronavirus economic recovery plan.
He added that, on the other hand, for the granting of European funds, "many states request a close connection with the verification of the rule of law, which is a matter that has led to many discussions."
"As a side note, the rule of law is not a problem with Romania and we do not oppose a connection, because, fortunately, the issue of the rule of law has been resolved in a positive way by last year's referendum and the political changes that took place. So, well, we're fine with that," Iohannis said.
He added that negotiations will continue on Sunday and said that for Romania the themes are the same: more funds for cohesion and agriculture.
"For the time being, negotiations are still taking place in smaller formats, and in a short time we will start a new plenary meeting, check to what extent we can make progress and to what extent the positions of the member states and groups can come together and, finally, harmonise. To Romania, to me, to the team I have come here with, the priority themes are still the same. We absolutely need sizeable, substantial funds, we need money for cohesion, for many highway projects, railways, hospitals, schools and so on, we need funds for agriculture, because without them it is almost impossible to imagine what agriculture would look like in Romania; obviously, we need substantial funds for economic recovery , and besides, to me and to us in general, reasonable flexibility between funds and the way funds are managed is vital, "Iohannis said.
The president specified that, so far in the negotiations, things for Romania "were negotiated, and moved in a reasonable way," but "when it comes to these negotiations, nothing is negotiated until everything is negotiated."
"I am moderately optimistic; we still have a chance and I think today is the decisive day, when we see if we can now, in this session, reach an agreement or if we have to come back in a few weeks to resume these agreements. However, in my opinion, everyone wants this agreement and that is important. Everyone wants and understood that there is a need for a link between the multiannual budget and the economic recovery fund. So on we go with a third night of negotiations, "Iohannis added.