Fresh News

Thursday, 17 May

Prime Minister Viorica Dancila met with the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship & SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska

Prime Minister Viorica Dancila met today with the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship & SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska who is paying a visit to Romania.

The two dignitaries approached the main European issues included in the European Commissioner’s portfolio: Internal Market of the European Union, including aspects regarding the Digital Single Market, industrial policy and the defence policy, European Semester and Romania’s taking over the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU in January 2019.

Prime Minister voiced Romania’support for the measures designed to deepen the Internal Market, and to contribute to economic convergence and social cohesion at EU level, and expressed the commitment to keeping high on the agenda these topics during our country’s tenure at the Council of the EU.

The Head of the Executive highlighted the potential of the digitalization to generate increased competitiveness and growth for Europe, and in this respect, reiterated our country's support for the development of digital competences and for a specific approach, according to the needs of each sector and field.

European Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska appreciated Romania’s positive economic development, considering that this is a positive premise for the implementation of the structural reforms envisaged by Bucharest authorities. The European Commissioner appreciated the Romanian officials’ positive consultations with the European Commission’s representatives in the preparation of the legislative reform on public procurement, expressing her agreement for the new legislation.

Discussions aimed at industry too, a context in which Prime Minister Viorica Dancila showed that a new European strategy in this field would contribute to increased European competitiveness through this sector’s capacity to generate economic growth and jobs. As regards the defence industry, Prime Minister voiced appreciation for the important progress achieved lately and underlined Romania’s interest to take an active part in all cooperation projects to be developed at EU level, including from the perspective of the next stages of this process, respectively, the presentation by the European Commission of the country-specific recommendations (CSRs) addressing the Member States.

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Joint press statements by Prime Minister Viorica Dancila and European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska

 

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Viorica Dancila:

Good afternoon. We appreciate the Commissioner’s visit only two weeks after the publication by the Commission of the draft budget for 2021- 2027 and the opportunity to discuss topics of common interest on Romania and the European Commission’s agenda. As regards the negotiation of the next financial multiannual framework, I stated that we want a budget to continue to strengthen the real convergence efforts between the Member States and the European citizens. In this respect, I reaffirmed Romania’s full availability of constructive reporting to the future negotiations at European level, as well as channeling efforts towards a substantial advancing of negotiations during our tenure as President of the Council of the EU in the first semester 2019, which would allow a political agreement in due time in this dossier. I discussed with Madam Bienkowska about the importance of the European and national industry and I outlined the attention that Romania attaches to digital modernization and transformation of the industrial basis. We tackled also the importance of the European Single Market that Romania is part of, the single market development in its 25 years of existence and I agreed that it is necessary to continue the measures for the implementation in due time and completely of the existing legislative framework. I communicated to Madam Commissioner that the Government’s priorities for the second trimester of this year also include Public Procurement Law, Public –Private Partnership Law, setting up Romania’s Trade House, institution of the state aid scheme on granting loans worth 40,000 lei without interest to young people, as well as instituting the programme for persons with disabilities, these being measures that can contribute including to entrepreneurship development in Romania. An important topic for Romania that I discussed with Madam Commissioner is speeding up public investment which is likely to support real convergence. In this respect, I requested and I got the support of Madam Commissioner for upgrading and simplifying the legislative framework of public procurement in full compliance with EU directives in the field. Over the last years, Romania has had an intense and fruitful dialogue with the European Commission on public procurement. In 2017, one of the country- specific reccomendations put forward by the European Commission referred to ensuring the implementation of the national strategy in the field of public procurement. In the Country report Romania 2018, published in March this year, part of the European semester, the Commission appreciated that some progress was achieved, but there are some challenges further on. I assure Madam Commisisoner of the fact that demarches to reform the public procurement system will continue, namely ensuring the full and sustainable implementation of measures included in this strategic document, under my direct supervision, so that investment so necessary and awaited by the Romanian citizens be achieved as soon as possible. In the talks with Madam Commissioner, I approached elements regarding the preparation of the exercise by Romania of the presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first semester of 2019, and I agreed on the close dialogue that we will further have in this important step for our country. We are sure of the fact that during the presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first semester 2019, we will have to answer some important challenges related to Brexit, post –Brexit Romania – European Union, a political agreement on the multiannual financial framework, migration, terrorism, and other challenges, but with the support of the European institutions, of the European Commission, we can properly answer these challenges. I thank Madam Commissioner for our substantial talks, for the support she extends to our country in meeting our European and national objectives, I wish her lot of energy in her activity.

 

Elżbieta Bieńkowska:

Thank you very much, Madam Prime Minister. First, I want to say how happy I am to be here in Romania, although the programme was very intense today, I may be should not say it: but Romania is one of my favorite European countries. We had a very good discussion with the Prime Minister, but also I have met and I will meet few Ministers from the Government. We are discussing most current and most important issues both from the European Commission’s perspective, but also from Romania’s perspective. First, we discussed as Madam Prime Minister mentioned, we discussed economic issues as the European semester, so this paper, this document that assesses economic performance of different Member States, and I stressed, Romania has a very good and for years, quite a good economic development, this is a time, good time to make reforms. From my perspective as a Commissioner responsible for companies, entrepreneurship, industry, of course, different administrative barriers for the companies are important, public administration but also Madam Prime Minister mentioned, the public procurement. I only want to mention before I move to public procurement, in a little more detailed way, I want to mention industrial policy Again, it was mentioned before, it is an important part of my activities. I participated in conference on tourism sector, one of the most important European industrial sectors, although it is not all the time seen that this is a very important economic sector. So, I think the very things we generally expected.

We had a very good cooperation. Now, moving to public procurement because I think it is in my portfolio, in my competence, so I wanted again to put again some flash lights into it. We have been cooperating very well for several weeks with the Romanian authorities, mainly the Romanian Ministry of Public Finances, on this. Of course, we appreciated the implementation of the public procurement strategy, the ex- ante conditionalities on public procurement were lifted few months ago, but of course, it is important especially when you want to use public money, both European or national in a fair, proper, transparent way, you need to have a good public procurement system and legislation, because this system is really a key to ensure the citizens that they are getting the best for their taxes, that public money is being spent in the proper, fair way. During our discussions, because I know, there is ongoing process of approving the new legislation on public procurement in Romania, we discussed it before, we had a proposal, some plans, some projects of this legislation, so I handled to the Ministry of Public Finance, our assessments, of course, I have to tell that we don’t know the final results of this legislation, but as for now, we have some minor concerns about legislation, and we hope that our cooperation in advance, not after the legal act is adopted, will be very beneficial for the Romanian economy, because Romania needs new infrastructure, needs to spend European money and for this, transparent Romanian and European public procurement system is very much needed.

We also discussed the issue of the next Multiannual Financial Framework, this is at the very top of the agenda. Still the European Commission proposed two weeks ago how the money will be divided between the subjects, but for now, we are working on regulations, this is even more important because the details are in the regulations, what will be done by mid-June, and again cooperation with Romania, with other Member States is extremely important. We know what is important for some Member States, of the Cohesion Policy, of the Agricultural Policy, but also of the policies that are focused on research, on innovation, on space for example, and defence.

We shortly touched upon this, but it is extremely important, we will have much more money in the next European MFF, for the cooperation between defence industries. This is also a place, a point where Romanian companies can benefit from the European budget, of course, besides the Cohesion, Agricultural Policies, and the main policies.

I would really like to encourage Romania to engage with other Member States, with industry, to ensure that Romanian industry takes part in the projects, in defence. I am looking forward to continuing this good cooperation on different issues, on the Single Market, of course, Madam Prime Minister has again mentioned this, we have touched upon so many points. Single Market is extremely important. We must not have economic borders in the EU, between Member States for long time and those not for long time, like Romania, and the other Member States. We need open market in the EU, I count on Romania, and I ask for Romania’s support.



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