Romania took over the leadership of the European Union in its first presidency that started on 1 January, 2019. The country will face major topics such as the EU’s financial framework for 2021-2027, the upcoming elections to the European Parliament and Britain’s departure from the EU. Migration will also remain on the agenda. Romania takes the helm of the EU in a tumultuous time for the bloc and just days after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker voiced doubts about the country’s ability to do the job.
Mr. Juncker earlier said that even if Romania was “technically well prepared” for the presidency, the “Bucharest government has not fully understood what it means to preside over the countries of the EU”. At a symbolic handover of the Council presidency from Austria to Romania, outgoing leader Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz met with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Viorica Dancila in Bucharest. On this occasion, the Romanian leader assured that his country was “well prepared” for its Council presidency, while Romania’s Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said she was also confident that Romania would have a successful presidency.
Mrs Dancila specifically commented that it was “very important that we move from a protected Europe – the motto of the Austrian presidency – to a Europe in which cohesion is seen as a common value. We also need protection, protecting European citizens, but we also need a higher level of cohesion, a rapprochement in the development of regions, or between the eastern and western, southern and northern countries, between old and new EU member states.”
The priorities of the Romanian presidency are cantered around ‘Europe of Convergence’ (1) with a focus on economic growth, cohesion, competitiveness and connectivity, a safer Europe (2) and Europe as a stronger global player (3) and Europe of common values (4). The Romanian presidency opens the Trio of Presidencies together with Finland and Croatia and will be the last presidency under the current legislative cycle of the European Parliament.