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PM Ponta: Personally, I believe Romania should embrace same stance on Kosovo as its EU partners


Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Monday reiterated that as far as he is concerned, Romania should coordinate its stance on the status of Kosovo with its European partners, given that 22 EU member states have already recognised Kosovo's independence. He also said he will discuss the matter next week with his Slovakian counterpart Robert Fico.

Ponta made this statement at a joint meeting of Romania's Parliament's committee on foreign affairs that debated the status of Kosovo.

'This is a step toward the idea of a new relationship between Parliament and the Government, including as far as foreign policy relations are concerned, a step toward strengthening the relationship in order to cooperate in making decisions and holding consultations. We have come before you today not with a proposal for a decision, but with a brief and probably a discussion with you over a delicate issue, a tough issue on Romania and EU's foreign policy agenda,' said Ponta.

He pointed out having discussed the issue with the Serb prime minister, who last week visited Bucharest.

'As you may know, there are developments in this issue. At this time, at a European level, there are only five member states having not recognised the independence of the Kosovo province. Among them is Romania. In Bucharest, we had talks that included this issue as well with Serbia's prime minister. Next week in Bratislava I will also have a conversation on the same matter with Slovakia's Prime Minister Fico. The Romanian diplomacy, under a co-decision of the President and the prime minister and a resolution passed by Parliament, has each time respected the decisions on a political level, but we are in a continual adaptation to the European and world political situation and the idea of having this conversation is meant exactly to find out whether or not Romania is heading in a certain direction or stay inflexible, stuck to an opinion to which it committed itself years ago,' said Ponta.

He added that there is a wide range of opinions, starting with the rejection of the idea of ever recognising the independence of Kosovo, all the way to the adoption of a position that is coordinated at the EU level.

'There is a wide range of opinions, starting with the opinion of never recognising the independence of Kosovo in any context, up to the idea toward I am leaning closer and closer of Romania taking a position that is coordinated with its European and trans-Atlantic partners and thus acknowledging a fact. Yet, all this cannot be decided by the Government alone, the President or Parliament alone. In fact, I have already discussed this way of thinking with the President,' said Ponta.

He added that following discussions inside the foreign affairs committees of the Romanian Parliament, a direction has to be chosen for Romania in relation to the status of Kosovo as well as the speed with which the country marches on.


PM Ponta: I am in favour of rapid recognition of Kosovo's independence, the President is more careful


Romania's Prime Minister Victor Ponta said Monday after a meeting of the Parliament's committees on foreign affairs that while he is in favour of a more rapid recognition of Kosovo's independence, President Traian Basescu is more careful.

'I have already discussed the matter with the President. We had an informal conversation. I will inform him about what was discussed today in the meetings of the foreign affairs committees. We are coordinating every time because it is about three institutional players: the President, the Government and Parliament and it would be ideal for the positions of the three institutions to be coordinated, even if I am rather in favour of a more rapid recognition, the President is more careful than I and the former foreign ministers have their own opinions. It is important for Romania to have a coordinated position inside its institutions, to coordinate itself with its European and trans-Atlantic partners and all that we do should not affect the exceptional traditional relationship with Serbia,' said Ponta.

He added that the committees did not set a deadline by which Romania should adopt a final position on Kosovo. Asked whether Romania is waiting for Serbia to recognoise Kosovo first, Ponta answered, 'It would be a bit ridiculous for Romania to fall behind Serbia.'

He mentioned that a working group made up of representatives of the Romanian diplomacy and MPs on the foreign affairs committees of Parliament will be set up to discuss the latest developments in the status of Kosovo.

'This is not about taking any decision. We agreed to set up a working group of officials of MAE and the two foreign affairs committees to tackle this issue so that we can inform each other about any development in this issue. We agreed that this is no taboo, but a matter we should be tackling,' said Ponta.