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Amalia Bojescu

10 Ianuarie 2019
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Romanian Minister-Delegate for European Affairs announced, in the General Affairs Council, priorities of Romania's EU Council Presidency.

RRA Exclusive Interview: Romanian Minister-Delegate for European Affairs


Romanian Minister-Delegate for European Affairs, George Ciamba.Photo: Agerpres.

Romanian Minister-Delegate for European Affairs George Ciamba has been in Brussels this week, to attend the General Affairs Council (GAC) and to announce Romania's priorities during its EU Council Presidency. GAC meeting of January 8 was the first reunion of the kind chaired by Romania. Minister-Delegate Ciamba offered an exclusive interview to Radio Romania News Channel (RRA) Correspondent in Brussels, Amalia Bojescu.

RRA Reporter: Minister-Delegate, during GAC meeting you have presented Romania’s priorities for its six-month mandate at the EU Council Presidency.

George Ciamba: In the first three months, it will be a priority to get as many agreements as possible with the European Parliament in order to transpose into legislation the proposals that have already been made by the European Commission. At the same time, we will also concentrate that also within the Council we can reach general approaches in as many of the files that we have taken from the previous Austrian EU Presidency. We will have the EU in Sibiu (on 9 May 2019, n.a.). And, as far as the strategic priorities of our EU Presidency are concerned, we are talking about Europe of convergence, which is very important for Romania because it derives directly from our motto "Cohesion, a common European value", and in the same time, convergence is, in fact, the process that not only weighs the single market but produces benefits for the citizens. It is about creating jobs, creating economic growth for our country as for the rest of Europe, a Europe in which we think of cohesion as a social value, we believe that the four fundamental freedoms must stand together, which means non-discrimination, is a Europe of values that prevents discrimination and also has an important dimension that we must not differentiate between the categories of European citizens. So it is very important for us that there should be no discrimination against European citizens. I also informed the Council of our action plan, the EU Multiannual Financial Plan, the future EU budget and we had an interesting discussion about disinformation. It is a theme we have to bear in mind, of course, next to the best possible communication with the citizens.

RRA Reporter: About the new Multiannual Financial Framework: seems that there’s already a deadline set for the adoption of this framework in the autumn of this year.

George Ciamba: For us, this does not mean disengagement. On the contrary, it means a much more ambitious level. So without an action of Romania and without some results that Romania searches to have, we cannot discuss that in October this year something can be achieved. The only discussion in October or this autumn is figures and, of course, the way we will tackle the rest of the sectoral programs. We talk about policies that finance research, academic exchanges or defense policies. So, if we look at sectoral policies, we have a wide range of instruments, and it is important that they are negotiated at least at the level of a mutual understanding in reference to the rules for accessing EU funds.

RRA Reporter: At the time the European Commission launched this draft budget, there were discussions about allocating funds if the rule of law is respected in certain countries. Will this be further discussed?

George Ciamba: There are several conditions to be met. It is not just an institution we are talking about. There are conditions on causes of solidarity, for example. Although there is currently a certain way to express public policies through funding instruments. Discussions are varied. The most important discussion, perhaps, is that on the kind of resources will we give for the EU budget. Let us not forget that we have a big difference between the figures coming from Parliament, because we have a report from the European Parliament, and the figures that appear in the Commission's proposal, not to mention that the General Councils’ proposals would like the allocation to be less generous in terms of percentage of Community GDP.

RRA Reporter: Brexit is a challenge for Romania’s EU Presidency. How will Romania manage the withdrawal process? There are even talks about a possible delay.

George Ciamba: We are ready for any situation. We want that this agreement passes through the House of Commons and then the Romanian EU Presidency will have a contribution to what will be called negotiation of the future agreement between the EU and the UK, but that does not mean that we are not prepared for the toughest option, a 'hard' Brexit. Any option is on the table.

RRA Reporter: You mentioned disinformation. It was a topic proposed by Romania and you asked the Member States for unity and common actions to combat this phenomenon that you consider a threat to democracy. What are the answers you expect?

George Ciamba: There was a response, a generous one, so to speak, at the level of all the Member States, there was an acknowledgment of the fact that we have a problem and we have to solve it. We have offered to bring this discussion at the European Council scheduled for March 2019 and it will happen. It was very important that everybody expressed their views on the subject. This discussion is part of the wider subject, called resilience. It is also about the perception of different countries on what we could do more. It is a discussion that may be somehow at start of the road, but it is important that it is related to our Presidency. It is already one of the concrete things that Romania’s Presidency of the EU Council can add on this issue.

Source:RRA.Translated by Miruna Matei

Etichete Președinția României la Consiliul UEexclusiv radioInterviuministrul delegat pentru afaceri europeneGeorge Ciamba

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