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Iohannis: Romania will support a possible modest increase in national contribution to EU budget


Romania will support a possible modest increase in the national contribution to the European Union's budget so as to maintain adequate allocations for EU policies, in particular for the cohesion and the common agricultural policy, Romania's President Klaus Iohannis told an informal meeting of the European Council in Brussels on Friday.

According to a Presidential Administration's press statement, Romania is attaching special importance to the future post-2020 EU budgetary framework, which was discussed at the informal meeting of the European Council, because it will be one of the main issues Romania will have to manage while holding the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2019.

"President Klaus Iohannis highlighted the importance of preserving the unity of the member states for reaching a consensus, stressing that as the holder of the EU Council presidency Romania will act to facilitate a political agreement on the EU budget after 2020."

Iohannis added that the negotiating process should lead to an ambitious and modern EU budget that will allow the European design to advance and meet the expectations of all EU citizens.

He also highlighted the need for a sufficient budget that would continue to support adequate funding for policies that led to growth and development.

"President Klaus Iohannis stressed the need to increase convergence as a top priority, while maintaining the substantial allocations for the traditional EU policies that have demonstrated their added value and generated benefits for the member states. In this respect, the President of Romania urged for appropriate funding for the cohesion policy to reduce gaps among member states and regions, and also to reform it to better meet the current needs of EU member states, "the Presidential Administration said.

As regards funding for new priorities, the European Union needs to be better equipped with financial means to respond adequately to the new challenges (security and defence, migration, research) and to adapt itself to new global realities, but this it must not be at the expense of policies and funds that have substantially supported the process of decreasing and even bridging development gaps within the EU.

On the other hand, Iohannis stressed that Romania supports the proposal of the European Parliament on the new distribution of MEP seats in the 2019-2024 legislature, whereby Romania recovers the seat it lost in the current legislature, so that the delegation of Romanian MEPs may increase to 33 members.

"The distribution proposed by the European Parliament is objective, fair and it observes the principle that no state should be losing seats."

The attending heads of state or government agreed on the European Parliament's proposal for a new distribution of seats to account for the UK leaving the EU.

Regarding the list of "Spitzenkandidaten," top seed candidates of the European political parties, Iohannis showed that the experience of 2014 was a positive one and should be further developed, pointing out that the practice must respect inter-institutional balance and stimulate good cooperation between the institutions of the European Union to promote a common pro-European agenda, adapted to the interests of the citizens.

At the same time, Iohannis expressed his support for the conduct of citizens' consultations to raise awareness among European citizens over Europe's current affairs.

"President Klaus Iohannis stressed that it is important for our country, as the future holder of the EU Council presidency, to raise awareness among European citizens over Europe's current affairs," Iohannis is quoted as saying.

President Klaus Iohannis had a discussion with the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday at the informal meeting of the European Council in Brussels.

At the start of the meeting, Klaus Iohannis also attended debates where other European leaders were present, including European Council President Donald Tusk, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

President Iohannis also had a discussion with Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and had a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki to discuss items on the European agenda, security cooperation and the Three Seas Initiative.