Iohannis, at the EPP meeting: Romania disagrees with a multi-speed Europe or a Europe of concentric circles
Romania's President Klaus Iohannis said Thursday that the leaders of the European People's Party (EPP) wants to leave their imprimatur on the Brexit negotiations over the UK leaving the European Union adding that that is not bothersome as long as the outcome meets Romania's objectives.
"You have probably followed some of the speeches given by EPP leaders and realised that there is a wish to leave an imprimatur on these negotiations, which does not bother as long as the outcome satisfies Romania's objectives. Some of Romania's objectives are very clear; I have unveiled them and continue to back them. I want negotiations that will guarantee the right of Romanian nationals living and working in the UK; on the other hand, we want to preserve the strategic partnership with the UK, continue our cooperation on security policy, particularly on the eastern flank, on the eastern neighbourhood, on which Romania and the UK have very similar stances," Iohannis told journalists at the EPP Summit in Malta.
He went on to say that the formal and informal talks he had these day with important state leaders revealed that things are on the right track.
"I could say that they all have understood that these negotiations cannot simultaneously be about the UK leaving the EU and the status of the UK afterwards, but that we have to start with clarifying aspects related to the breakup and only then should we start negotiations over what comes once the UK is out. Things are starting to settle and we hope to be able to very actively participate in these negotiations without getting out from the EU-27 team, which should negotiate as a single entity if it wants to negotiate successfully," said Iohannis.
He reiterated that Romania disagrees with a multi-speed Europe or a Europe of concentric circles.
"As far as the future of the European Union is concerned, certain things have been quite well discussed and a first result was visible as early as the Rome Declaration. The concept of concentric circles, of multi-speed Europe have been discarded, and today I have reiterated Romania's disagreements with the two concepts. I guess the people have understood that it is more important for us to be together and build something than for us to get bogged down in differences between east and west, north and south. As you could see, there were some moments of great tension, not only in the east-west relationship, but also in the north-south one when it came to the euro, sustainability of national budgets and public debt. But these should in no way be deepened, but the divergences and the differences should be settled down. That does not happen as a self-starting process, but it occurs when we want to get common approaches, negotiating for common approaches, and I am quite optimistic about it," Iohannis concluded.
Romania supports neither a European Union of concentric circles integration, nor a multi-speed Europe, President Klaus Iohannis told the European People's Party (EPP) Congress in Malta this Thursday.
"Romania does not support a European Union of concentric circles of integration or of multiple speeds, which runs the risk of increasing social and economic division between member states. We do not see these scenarios as instruments for deepening the cooperation among member states, especially when the Union is already confronted with division and some distrust between member states," the head of the state said in the speech delivered at the Congress.
In President Iohannis's opinion, Europe is " now at a crossroads, as it faces complex crises of unprecedented intensity."
"Terrorist attacks, migration, nationalism, populism, Brexit and, above all, the rise of Euroskepticism, have become major challenges. (...) Although Brexit has led to a decline in Euro-enthusiasm, most members of the European family are still attached to the values promoted by the Union and believe that it is in our best interest to find solutions rather than give up a project that has brought peace and prosperity to our continent, for so many decades. The European Union is a project that remains vital for all of us," said the President.
According to Klaus Iohannis, it is extremely important that the outcomes of the negotiations - regarding both UK's leaving the bloc and whatever agreement will be in place after its departure - are "decent and sustainable".
Regarding the Congress of the European People's Party, the Romanian head of state expressed his hope that it will "strengthen the cohesion of the European Union. The European People's Party is the strongest political group in Europe, so the greater our responsibility to promote a coherent vision for the future of the Union and to regain the citizens' confidence in the European project. I am fully confident that we - all of us here - have both the will and the ability to carry forward the project of a united Europe," concluded President Iohannis.
Iohannis on Thursday was in Malt to attend an EPP Summit.