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President Iohannis: Text of Declaration of Rome - positive and balanced, in agreement with Romania's position

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The Rome Declaration is positive and balanced, in line with Europe's future as envisaged by Romania, Romania's President Klaus Iohannis said Saturday evening in Rome. 

"The declaration is positive and balanced, in line with Europe's future as envisaged by Romania. It has taken over the concerns voiced by Romania as part of negotiations over consolidated cooperation. At the same time, additional mention of cohesion to achieve a prosperous and sustainable Europea was also included," said Iohannis. 

He pointed out that the mentioning the concept of consolidated cooperation in the final version of the Rome Declaration is done strictly within the limitations of the Treaty on the European Union, as the objective is to make the member states act together. 

"Moreover, the declaration says that the door is kept open to those who want to join later this form of consolidated cooperation. We certainly do not want setbacks from what we have so far achieved. It is important for the European Union to develop permanently to consolidate the policies that provide fundamentals and efficiency to the Union, and I mean here the internal market with four fundamental freedoms, the cohesion policy, the enlargement policy and the neighbourhood policy," said Iohannis. 

In his opinion, the European institutions operating more efficiently is conditioned by more transparent mechanisms and leaner procedures that will soon become a reality to the people. 

"It is important to Romania to realistically and consistently keep up its priority items and get actively involved in the continuation and consolidation of the policies that can significantly contribute to bridging the gaps inside the Europeans Union. In early 2019, Romania will be holding, for the first time, the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months, which is undoubtedly an opportunity. Romania will set its priorities for that period of time when it will have for the first time the opportunity to advance European interests by mediating for joint, consensual stands among the member states and to also demonstrate its vision, Romania's; own vision of identifying compromises able to advance the European design," said Iohannis. 

He added that Saturday's anniversary summit that marked the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties means more than celebrating the history of the European design, as it was also a stock-taking moment on six decades of European integration. 

"We have all the reasons to be proud of what we have so far achieved, but at the same time we need to renew our pledge to continue the development of our unique design, because ensuring peace, security and prosperity for all European citizens depends on it. On this anniversary summit, we have passed the Rome Declaration, a political document thought to define a common vision over the direction in which the European design continues for the next decade, while at the same time contributing towards regaining the citizens' trust in their own design, the European design," said Iohannis. 

He also underscored the importance of the fact that the vision of the founders of the European design to create an even closer union of the countries on the European continent is still relevant and found in the declaration passed on Saturday. 

"Keeping the unity of the 27 member states is and has to remain our motto," said Iohannis.

According to him, the East Europeans' worries of being left behind would have resurfaced had a two-speed Europe been accepted. 

"How did we do it? Perhaps we had a better day. Well, I presented what in my opinion would be the dangers of a two-speed Europe, the biggest of which I believe would be returning to an Iron Curtain geometry, which would be lethal to Europe, because, if we accept the concept, should we accept the concept that now is out of the question - but to answer your question: had we accepted a two-speed Europe, sooner or later second speed would have been in the East and then some of the profound worries of Eastern European of being left behind would have resurfaced; in the West, very many Europeans, slowly but surely, would have worried that people come after their jobs and push them aside in their countries," Iohannis said in reply to journalists' question about how he managed to overturn the rhetoric from northern and western Europe. 

He went on to say that this should not happen. "Neither should happen and we cannot let the union reach a state in which European, instead of being optimistic and trustful in their own design, would start fearing the European design; of course I came up with several arguments. Others had arguments as well that, I confess, came to support my speech and, fortunately, we managed together to find better wordings," said Iohannis. 

Asked by journalists about his take on the Rome Declaration saying " we will act together, at different paces and intensity where necessary," which sounds very much like "multi-speed Europe," opposed by Romania, he said the snetnece is in line with the negotiations. 

"Yes, we have opposed the idea and I can say, like we did in the text, we did so successfully because you may all notice that even in the rhetoric of the European leaders mention of 'two-speed Europe' or 'multi-speed Europe' or 'Europe of concentric circles' no longer exists. The excerpt you are quoting is in full consonance with the negotiations, meaning it reflects the current lay of the land in the European Union and it is what I described earlier in my brief speech as 'consolidated cooperation.' It has been proved that sometimes it is the case that there are projects that not everybody want to join from the very beginning,"said Iohannis. 

He went on to say that Romania's major objective is a united Europe that is also cohesive in terms of internal and external action, a union that is able to play a key part globally. 

"These, I believe, are the expectations of the citizens who want a strong, inclusive Europe underpinned by principles and rules. People continue to refer to the same values on which the European Union has been built. It is our mission, the mission of the chiefs of state and political leaders, to prove that we have the vision to further our common design and once again regain trust in the future of a united Europe. That is the main way of countering Eurosceptic, xenophobic and radical tendencies," said Iohannis.



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