Minister Delegate for European Affairs George Ciamba said on Wednesday that the Presidency of the Council of the EU is proof that Romania is a full-fledged member of the European Union.
Asked by journalists, on the occasion of his participation in a lecture delivered at the Bucharest National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA) by North Macedonia's Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, about how Romania's role in the EU has changed since its accession, Ciamba replied: "I think that the end of the transition, or the proof that we are a full-fledged member of the EU was the Presidency of the Council of the EU, the fact that we had a very successful term at the Presidency - as confirmed by all our partners in Europe - which actually shows that Romania has learned throughout its years of membership, that it has the administrative and organizational capacity to accomplish a successful Presidency. Speaking about the end of the transition at a certain moment, in terms of joining the EU, or of our NATO accession, I think one of the very important milestones for the change of Romania's status is this Presidency, because it has been a quality, successful Presidency."
The senior Foreign Affairs official said that he does not only refer to legislative files, but to other accomplishments too.
Asked about the progress made during Romania's Presidency with regard to the date for the start of North Macedonia's EU accession negotiations, Ciamba said: "The decision will be taken at the June meeting of the General Affairs Council (...), there is already a conclusion of the General Affairs Council from a year ago that this decision should mark the start of accession negotiations. From the very beginning Romania has said that this is one of the priorities of its term at the Presidency at the Council of the EU, and Foreign Minister Dimitrov's visit to Bucharest, which follows my visit to Scopje and the visit of Prime Minister Zaev to Romania is not accidental."
Ciamba mentioned that the decision will not be Romania's, that it will be made by all member countries, but that our country can act as a consensus facilitator, which is very important.
"This is a consensus-based decision, not a decision by qualified majority, and this has been a constant in all the consultations we have had at the level of Foreign Ministers and Prime Ministers, at all the meetings we had in the region. (...) We are constantly present in the region and we pursue a regional policy," added Ciamba.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of North Macedonia said that his country's joining the EU is perhaps the most important project of his generation and is not about becoming Europeans just on paper, but involves multiple aspects, including the economy.
In order for young people to have a European future at home and not look for Europe in Germany or elsewhere, we must do what we have to do. I think this is good for us, for the region, and for the EU itself, Dimitrov said.
He mentioned that North Macedonia is surrounded by EU member states.
We have been waiting for 14 years now as a candidate country, we have been in the waiting room because of the dispute with Greece, but we have solved this problem now and we are determined to succeed. We only have friends now, we have five neighbors and five friends, all of them are our partners and friends, there is obvious progress at home and this year is a major opportunity for the EU to recognize this, Foreign Minister Dimitrov pointed out.