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Iohannis: Election of Tusk to EPP chairmanship reveals East-West rift increasingly vanishes


President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday night saluted the election of the former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk for the position of chairman of the European People's Party saying that this reveals that the rift between the East and the West vanishes more and more.

"It is a first and it is a beautiful first. I know Mr. Tusk very well and I'm very glad he was elected with an overwhelming majority of votes. The fact that for the first time we have at the helm of the EPP a president from the Eastern part of Europe obviously shows an opening in the EPP to, let's say new members with the European Union. A thing that pleases us and it is a visible sign, an obvious sign that the East-West rift is vanishing more and more and this in fact is what we want for Romania and for the Romanians, to attain a living standard and a society as mature as that of the old EU Member States' societies," the Romanian president stated at his arrival at the EPP Summit that has ended the first day of the statutory congress of the pan-European political family.

President Klaus Iohannis deemed Romania's representation at the congress of the European People's Party both by president and the prime minister to be a positive fact, expressing his conviction that our country's influence within this pan-European political family and within the European Union will grow.

''It is obviously a very, very good situation for us within the EPP, and to emphasize this, we came this evening to the EPP Summit of Heads of State and Government. And, of course, in this new configuration, which, indeed, if I succeed in the second round of the elections, leads us to the situation to have, at the end of the year, both president and prime minister from the PNL [the National Liberal Party], from the EPP. Obviously, Romania's influence within the EPP and implicitly in all the structures of the European Union will be considerably better and we intend to use this situation for the benefit of Romania and the Romanians,'' said the Romanian head of state upon his arrival at the EPP Summit that concluded the first day of the congress of the European People's Party in Zagreb.

Asked if this could be the case for a new impetus in view of joining the Schengen area and the eurozone, President Iohannis replied: ''Certainly. In the new configuration, the discussions will resume and, of course, we will then have much greater political weight, so to speak.''

On the other hand, Klaus Iohannis referred to one of the topics addressed at the EPP congress in Zagreb on Wednesday - the situation in the EU's neighborhood with a view to the enlargement of the community bloc. 
''The PPE has long declared itself and has been involved in favour of the enlargement and I believe that we will continue this policy in the EPP, under the chairmanship of Mr. Tusk. At least for me this is something I both expect and wish for,'' the Romanian president concluded.