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EC Jean-Claude Juncker: Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU will have "extraordinary difficult" tasks

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The Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU will have "extraordinary difficult" tasks and comes "in a crucial moment for the future of the EU," President of the European Commission (EC) Jean-Claude Juncker stated after the meeting which the European Commissioners carried out in Brussels with Prime Minister Viorica Dancila and members of the Romanian Government. The European official said he is confident that, although many things need to be made in a short period due to the European Parliament election, the Romanian Presidency has the capability to manage all these tasks, which he estimates that the Romanian ministers are very well trained for.

The Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU "it's a special event, because Romania just celebrated the Centennial. because is Romania's first presidency of the Council of the EU," President of the EC Jean-Claude Juncker told a joint press conference with PM Dancila.

"We had a working meeting with all the Commissioners, that was translated into the Commission's recognition of the fact that the Romanian Government is well prepared for the Presidency of the EU Council," head of the EC underscored.

"Without Romania, the European Union wouldn't be complete, it is complete today," Juncker stated, adding that he remembers "the emotion" felt on that April day of 2015 when, as the President of the EU Council at that time, he signed the admission agreement of Romania in the EU, a day which he described as one of "reconciliation between geography and history." "After decades of artificial separation, we have to say it, Romania is today part of the European family, in order to be forever anchored here," the EC President said.

"The Romanian Presidency comes in a crucial moment for the future of the EU. In the full European Romanian Presidency, the UK will leave the EU on 30 March, next year, it's a sad date, but Romania will know how to manage the post-Brexit period as well as possible," thus indicating one of the delicate problems that the Romanian Presidency will manage during its mandate. 

"Romania will be confronted with tasks of extraordinary difficulty," Juncker drew attention, bringing to mind that in this period, when the Summit in Sibiu will take place, it should also be convened the future multi-annual financial framework of the EU (for 2021-2027), for which the European Commission came with 257 proposals, hoping that some of them will be solved by the end of the current Austrian Presidency of the EU Council.

"The Romanian Presidency will have a lot of work in a short period," because of the European Parliament elections on May, so there will actually be just four months for the Romanian Presidency, the EC President stated.

He also remarked the fact that the Romanian ministers, whom he met on Wednesday in Brussels are "well trained for their tasks" and mentioned that "Romania will manage to solve a large number of proposals resting on Parliament's [the European Parliament] and the Council's table."

Juncker also estimated that there is a convergence of programmes between the Romanian Government and the European Commission, although it is true that there are sometimes "divergences regarding the development of the rule of law," adding that "this is not a matter related, first of all, to the Romanian Presidency [of the EU Council], but rather to the bilateral relations between Romania and the European Commission, or the European Union."

"I remain convinced that before the end of the mandate of the current [European] Commission, we will be able to accept Romania as a new member of the Schengen Area. Efforts are still to be made. I believe that they will be made," Juncker said. .

"My intention still is to make Romania a member of Schengen. As you already know, in the last report [regarding the Mechanism of Cooperation and Verification] I drew attention of the Romanian authorities on some weaknesses and together [the Romanian authorities and the EU ones] we'll work to complete the preparation of Romania for the Schengen Area. I am certain that this will be achieved and I wish to end my mandate after Romania becomes member of the Schengen Area," said the EC President, in answering to a question from journalists after the meeting which the European Commissioners had in Brussels with PM Viorica Dancila and members of the Romanian Government.

"Some efforts need to be done, however," added Juncker, whose mandate will end in October next year.

Jean-Claude Juncker said he was in favour of Romania's accession to Schengen, most recently on October 23, when he spoke in the plenary sitting of the European Parliament.



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