Fresh News

Tuesday, 07 January

Statements by Prime Minister Ludovic Orban following the first day of the working visit in Brussels

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Reporter: Tell us about the discussion topics of today’s meetings and the conclusion you reached.

Ludovic Orban: I am paying the first official visit to Brussels, in my capacity as Prime Minister. We have three days of meetings with European officials. During today’s meeting, I had official meetings with the European Council President Charles Michel, the European Commission Vice – President Frans Timmermans who, in the current Commission, is coordinating the Commissioners who are in charge of the drawing up and implementation of the Green Deal. I also had meetings with the European Enlargement and Neighborhood Commissioner Hahn, the Commissioner in charge of the budget, and I also had a meeting with Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator. I answer your questions according to what you are interested in. The topic I approached, depended on each European official I had an official meeting with. The main topic of the meeting with the European Council President pertained to the EU budget for 2021 -2027. It is very clearly known that currently, the European Council mandated the European Council President to carry negotiations regarding the multiannual financial exercise 2021 – 2027. We have presented our viewpoints with respect to the budget and we've been informed about the latest developments of the discussions about the budget.

Reporter: What does Romania really want in the next financial exercise?

Ludovic Orban: I have presented our viewpoints in favour of maintaining a solid funding for cohesion, that would allow Romania to use these funds to ensure economic development and help the Romanian citizens getting closer to the average income level; moreover, our main interest is to have solid financing for agriculture under pillars I and pillar II, to ensure convergence in terms of direct payments per hectare, the "subsidy per hectare" as the Romanian farmers know it, to get as close as possible to the European average level. We are also very interested in the manner in which the Just Transition Fund will be established and used. We already know that the Green Deal has very ambitious objectives in terms of environment, especially for the countries that are not among the most developed European countries, for it implies costs, which is why Romania and other countries need financing to allow them to support the investments that will help them reach the objectives of the Green Deal.

Reporter: As regards the Brexit, it is one of the topics of interest for Romania too, especially considering the workers and those studying in Great Britain, in fact, what are the signals given by the European officials on this topic for the Romanians living in Great Britain?

Ludovic Orban: Romanians who are today in the UK, have, in fact, their rights guaranteed, there are provisions in the agreement that guarantee their rights. For the European citizens who go to the UK after Brexit, there still isn't any regulation yet. It will be the topic of subsequent talks after the UK leaves the EU. For now, we are in the phase in which the agreement is submitted to debate and approval in the European Parliament, the British Parliament, and after the ratification of this agreement, discussions kick-off, in fact, they have already started. Michel Barnier is directly involved in starting these talks on the subsequent agreement or the subsequent agreement on the relationship between the European Union and the UK. These agreements will include the eventual provisions on European citizens, not only Romanian citizens, who would eventually go to the UK.

Reporter: You met with both the current Enlargement Commissioner and the former Enlargement Commissioner, the current Budget Commissioner. Have you discussed the situation in the Republic of Moldova? What messages did you receive from the European officials?

Ludovic Orban: I have conveyed a message which is very well known to the European Union officials. After the censure motion filed by the PSRM [Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova], Dodon's party, which led to the fall of the Maia Sandu Government and subsequently to the creation of a PSRM Government, without the only clearly pro-European political force which had our endorsement and not only ours, and provided us the guarantee of a European journey for the Republic of Moldova, thus, everything that has happened in the Republic of Moldova represents an involution, which concerns us and, from our point of view, we cannot consider the current Government as a serious partner. And as regards the standpoint I expressed to both the European Commissioner for Enlargement and other European officials, I requested them to look with maximum circumspection and maximum exigency upon everything that happens in the Republic of Moldova and if the commitments which have been made regarding the European path aren't observed, the EU, the European Commission shall act accordingly.

Reporter: I would like to ask you if you talked with the European officials about Schengen?

Ludovic Orban: Yes, I did.

Reporter: And? What are the signals?

Ludovic Orban: I do not like to talk too much about this issue. When we reach an outcome, we will make it public.

Reporter: One of your meetings was with the Budget Commissioner. Romania exceeded this year the deficit target and seeks through budget projection, to exceed this year too the 3 percent target of the GDP. Furthermore, the Public Finance Minister stated that there were two parallel budgets and the European officials would have received fake information and figures regarding the old budget.

Ludovic Orban: Do not mention here the same things you mention every day home. I discussed the EU budget with the Budget Commissioner and also the way the EU funds absorption is unfolding.

Reporter: There were questions...

Ludovic Orban: No, no. This topic has not been discussed in today’s meetings. We discussed budgetary execution, the future budget, as Commissioner Hahn is in charge of the budget on the multiannual financial exercise 2021 – 2027 too. We discussed the steps we took in accelerating the European absorption, and I remind here that we avoided the risk of losing almost 600 million euros and that Romania lost no euro. The rise in the absorption rate represents an objective for which we are moving very fast, in order to ensure a greater absorption of European funds made available to Romania in the 2014 -2020 exercise.



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