Romanian Council presidency: MEPs expect focus on budget and future EU

Romania takes over the rotating presidency of the Council on 1 January, for the first time since joining the EU in 2007. Romanian MEPs told us what they are expecting.

For its six-month term, Romania has set out the following priorities:

  • stimulate EU growth
  • improve conditions for competiveness
  • strengthen internal security
  • promote European common values of democracy, freedom and respect for human dignity in the EU and beyond its borders
  • focus on combating racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, intolerance and populism

During the Romanian Council presidency, the EU will also have to address:

  • the negotiations on the EU’s next long-term budget
  • Brexit

On 9 May, Romania will host an informal European Council summit in Sibiu, where leaders will discuss plans about the future of the EU. It will be their first meeting following the UK's withdrawal from the EU and the last meeting before the European elections on 23-26 May.

MEPs’ expectations

Marian-Jean Marinescu, vice-chair of the EPP group, said: “The Romanian presidency overlaps a European agenda with high stakes, such as migration, Brexit, the [EU's long-term budget] and of course, redefining the future of the European Union. From my perspective, the negotiations on the EU long-term budget for 2021-2027 will be the big test for both Romania and the EU, because redefining the future of the European community needs a concrete transposition in policies and funding.”

Victor Boștinaru, vice-chair of the S&D group, said: “I expect an agreement on a vision for Europe, which excludes a two-speed, multi-speed approach and tensions that can harm the European project. That is why I would like to believe that the summit in Sibiu will establish a vision in which solidarity and unity prevail. I expect that this summit will provide us with an agreement on the budget. It is likely that the agreement on Brexit will be confirmed at the Sibiu summit, where a major decision reaffirming the enlargement policy towards the Western Balkans and redefining the Eastern Partnership with more pragmatic elements should be taken. I think that during the Romanian presidency the direction regarding European defence policy should be strictly defined.”

Laurențiu Rebega, a member of the ECR group, said: “First, I would like to see active and intelligent management of three main topics: the [long-term budget], issues around Brexit and the European elections in May. In addition, it would be great if Romania relaunched cohesion policy projects, which would also relaunch the hopes and confidence of all EU citizens.”

Norica Nicolai, vice-Chair of the ALDE group, said: “The first rotating presidency comes, unfortunately, at a difficult time for the EU and for my country. Brexit and the [long-term budget] will mark the future of the European Union. In the context of the rise of populism and extremism within the Union, I hope that Romania will consolidate pro-European values. I trust Romania's ability to manage this presidency and will politically support the efforts to finalise the adoption of legislation.”

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