Romania

Ana Birchall: It is essential for EU to reaffirm its support for the EU's expansion policy

​Romania's Minister-delegate for European Affairs Ana Birchall said Tuesday in Brussels that it is essential for the European Union to reaffirm its support for the EU's expansion policy, which has a transformative effect from political, economic, social, and institutional point of view, as well as for enhancing regional cooperation and developing concrete projects in the Western Balkans, with direct benefits for the population in the region.

On March 7, 2017, she attended aGeneral Affairs Council (GAC) meeting in Brussels.

The main topic of interest on the meeting agenda focused on the preparation of the next European Summit on 9-10 March 2017. In this context, the Ministers for European Affairs in the EU Member States had an exchange of views on the draft conclusions of the European Council, focusing on employment, growth and competitiveness, migration, security and defence, and EU's external relations.

During the discussions, Minister Delegate Ana Birchall expressed her support for the further implementation of strategies on Internal Market, for reinforcing EU's industrial policy and for completing the digital single market. In addition, in terms of aspects concerning security and defence, the Romanian official highlighted the need to implement the objectives set at European and Euro-Atlantic level, while ensuring the complementarity of the European decisions with the decisions made within NATO. She stressed the importance of the Member States and of the EU partners promoting measures of fighting against hybrid threats at EU level.

In addition, in the discussions concerning the preparations for the European Council on the EU's commercial policy, the Minister Delegate declared that 'Romania supports the strong commitment of the EU to maintain an active commercial policy with third-parties." In this context, she welcomed the recent positive vote of the European Parliament on the Agreement for Economic and Commercial Cooperation between the European Union and Canada and stressed the importance of granting non-discriminatory access for all European citizens to the economic benefits of the Agreement, by achieving Canada's commitment of waiving visas for all Romanian citizens in December 2017.

In relation to migration, the Romanian party underlined the importance of addressing the root causes of this phenomenon. 'Romania supports the reinforcement of cooperation with external partners, states of origin and transit countries, including pursuant to the measures agreed within the informal European Summit in Malta of 3 February, which aim at managing migration on the Central Mediterranean route, as well as EU's support for the states along the Western Balkans route. We also need to further implement the EU-Turkey Statement of March 2016," said Birchall.

In addition, the Romanian official reiterated the need to maintain the Union's commitment in the Western Balkans. In this context, she reiterated the support for the EU's expansion policy, which has a "transformative effect from political, economic, social, and institutional point of view, as well as for enhancing regional cooperation and developing concrete projects in the Western Balkans, with direct benefits for the population in the region."

On the occasion of the GAC meeting, the ministers of foreign affairs formally adopted, without debate, the conclusions of the Council on the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), following the report of the European Commission published on 25 January. "The conclusions are balanced and reflect the commitment of the Romanian authorities to continue the fight against corruption and the reform of the legal system, as well as to continue the dialogue with the European Commission in order to fulfil the objective of finalising the mechanism", showed the Minister Delegate Ana Birchall. To this end, the Romanian official claimed that, following the steps taken by the Prime-Minister Sorin Grindeanu in the discussions with the President and Vice-President of the European Commission, the dialogue with the European Commission has already started in order to clarify certain aspects of the 12 recommendations in the report in order to fulfil them as soon as possible.

In relation to adopting the conclusions on the CVM report, Ana Birchall stressed the need to have unequivocal recommendations that would allow a predictable calendar for completing the mechanism and welcomed the acknowledgement by the European Union of any lack between the mechanism and other European files, such as Schengen or structural funds.

The foreign affairs ministers  also had an exchange of views on the European Semester and on the draft recommendation for the economic policy of the euro-zone, in order to be sent for endorsement to the European Council.

Within GAC, the Maltese Presidency of the EU Council informed about the state of implementation of the provisions of the Interinstitutional Agreement on better lawmaking.

In addition, the GAC meeting on  March 7, 2017 formalised the agreement on a package concerning the mid-term review of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020.

On the side-lines of the GAC meeting, Birchall had a series of meetings with the German Minister of State for Europe, Michael Roth; British Minister of State David Jones,  as well as with Italian State Secretary Sandro Gozi, and Spain's  State Secretary for the EU Jorge Toledo Albinana. She was also scheduled to meet European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu.

Source: Romanian National News Agency AGERPRES

 

 

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