Romania's Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu said that Romania taking over the six-month rotating presidency of the European Council in first half of 2019 is a national project, pointing out that there are logistics as well as protocol problems in doing that.
"This is a national project and we, together with Parliament and the Government, have to understand that each and every one is involved in the project. This is a project that indeed provides us with an opportunity to be somehow visible on Europe's map and for six months to be those facilitators that, starting from our national positions as well as the interests of the EU overall, find good solutions to the problems facing the EU," Melescanu told a debate on Wednesday in Bucharest called "Romania's 2019 European Council Presidency - Together to consolidate the European design."
He argued that there are logistics problems with the takeover, saying that support from Romania's Parliament, Government and Finance Ministry is needed in the process. He mentioned to the point the fact that Romania's permanent representation to the EU in Brussels is housed in a building that will not cope with the requirements for the takeover of the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union.
"We cannot continue on just the annual budget approved for this process and that provides means necessary for the start of preparations ensuring the presidency. (...) We cannot undertake financial obligations or make various acquisitions without first being certain there is annual budgeting throughout 2019, including the first part of the year, when Romania effectively becomes the president. (...) We are facing very serious logistics and protocol problems," said Melescanu.
He went on to say that EU's foreign affairs are one of the themes that could bring Romania up for discussion when taking over the rotating presidency. Melescanu added that Bucharest or other Romanian c ity could host a summit of the EU's Eastern Partnership.
Other themes that could be brought to the fore by Romania could be continuing the EU's enlargement; Black Sea security developments; latest developments in the Danube Strategy and migration strategy; assessing the EU's security and defence policy
Unfortunately, the old adage that the Black Sea is Romania's good neighbour has not rung true lately; on the contrary. It is one of the areas where there is a very serious accumulation of arms and conflicts that can always lead to events that none of us wants," said Melescanu.
He pointed out that the takeover of the presidency of the Council of the European Union is a national project in which all players have to get involved to secure its success.
"This will be a big opportunity for Romania to show up as is in a time of remarkable developments, a Romania that truly is a worthy EU member; our country projects for the presidency should be the ambition of integrating ourselves and being as close to the hard core of the EU as possible, which can only be achieved through cooperation in matters such as the Schengen Area, by entering the Euro-Zone, or by our involvement and participation in EU's common security and defence policy," added Melescanu.
At the debate, Birchall said a new building has been identified to host Romania's Permanent Representation in Brussels and that a memorandum to this end is expected in the weeks to come.