Starting 1st of January 2019, Romania takes over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Between 1st of January and 30 June 2019, Romania will exercise its first mandate at the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union against a background of a European agenda marked by political developments and dossiers with a decisive impact on the future of the Union. The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the negotiation of the future European budget, the European Parliament elections in May 2019, preceded by a campaign with major political stakes and messages with potential for disinformation and division at European level will increase the complexity of the forthcoming EU Council Presidency agenda.

Within this evolving framework, the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union will aim to promote a vision focused on the principle of European cohesion on all dimensions - political, economic and social. Working under the motto “Cohesion, a common European value”, the Presidency of Romania at the Council of the European Union will focus on identifying solutions that reflect both the interests of the Member States and the vision of the European institutions, acting in the spirit of a stronger and more united Europe.

In this vein, the priorities of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union reflect the need for cohesion and have been assigned to four main pillars of action: (1) Europe of convergence: growth, cohesion, competitiveness, connectivity; (2) A safer Europe; (3) Europe as a stronger global actor; (4) Europe of common values.

The role of the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union requires an impartial and professional handling of all the items under the current European agenda during the six-months mandate. The most important topics include: defining the budget of the European Union for 2021-2027; the functioning of the Internal Market; strengthening the EU social dimension; EU’s internal security agenda; the fight against terrorism; managing the migration challenges; reinforcing the EU at global level.

The calendar of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union comprises a significant number of meetings and events, formal and informal, both at high and technical level. Alongside the informal European Leaders’ Summit, in Sibiu (9 May 2019), a key moment for identifying the lines that will guide the Union's action in the medium term, with a view to agreeing on the future EU Strategic Agenda, several informal events will take place at national level, giving the opportunity to highlight the comparative advantages of Romania and to promote the national vision on certain European policies.

Building on the four pillars of action, the Presidency of Romania at the EU Council will pursue economic and social convergence by promoting the benefits of digitizing the European industry, preserving the four fundamental freedoms of the European Single Market, promoting gender equality and supporting cohesion policy and Common Agricultural Policy. In the process of strengthening the EU's role at global level, it will highlight the importance of Enlargement policy and the Union's action in the neighborhood, with a positive impact on the regional equation. Last but not least, the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council will act to protect democratic and free elections for the European Parliament against external interference, taking into account the latest fake news coming from outside the Euro-Atlantic area targeting Romania and the European Union.

The preparation process for taking over the Presidency of the EU Council was based on the strong inter-institutional cooperation at political, organizational and logistic level. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was in charge with supervising the whole process, under the direct coordination of the Prime Minister of Romania. The Minister for European Affairs will chair the General Affairs Council, responsible for ensuring consistency in the work of all Council configurations. The whole process of preparation of the Presidency has benefited from continuity at national level and from a permanent communication at political and technical level with European institutions and partners. Consequently, before taking over of the Presidency of the EU Council, in 2018, Bucharest received the members of the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament and the Romanian Government had a joint meeting in Brussels with the College of Commissioners.

Romania also had a constant collaboration with the previous Estonia-Bulgaria-Austria Trio, with the aim of ensuring the continuity of the EU Council's work. The transfer of the mandate to the Romania-Finland-Croatia Trio will be initiated on the 1st of January 2019, when our country will take over the rotating Presidency of the EU Council. On this occasion, Romania expresses its appreciation for the efforts undertaken by the three previous Presidencies during the 18 months period (July 2017-December 2018) for the advancement of the European agenda, and reiterates its strong commitment to ensuring a coherent transition between the two Trio.

During the six-month mandate, through its work and actions, Romania intends to contribute to the advancement of the European process, based on the consolidation of the European cohesion and unity.


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