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​Romanian presidency of the EU Council concludes: what have Romanians gotten out of it?

de Claudiu Zamfir, adapt. C.I.     HotNews.ro
Sâmbătă, 29 iunie 2019, 16:17 English | Regional Europe


Viorica Dancila-CE
Foto: Guvernul Romaniei
Romanian PM Viorica Dancila and her ministers, who have run the Council of the European Council, have boasted with the "successful presidency" Romania has held for the past six months. President Iohannis, who opposes Dancila, also claimed "success" for the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council. But what did the average Romanian receive, did he taste this success?

The government boasted with over 90 European cases concluded during Romania's presidency of the Council, but this is mainly the result of the work of diplomats and clerks within the ministries or other institutions, people nobody really heard of. What did politicians really do?

TOP 3 failures of the Dancila Government during the EU Council Presidency:

  • Romania failed to join Schengen
For 12 years, when prompted by Romanian journalists, ambassadors of countries holding the EU Council presidency were patting the backs promising to pursue the objective of Romania and Bulgaria joining Schengen. But Romania failed to join the Schengen area even when it itself held the Presidency - and not only did it fail to join, but it failed to do so at least partially, as it had attempted in years past.

When it presided over her council earlier this month, Romanian Interior minister Carmen Dan said that a vote for expanding the Schengen area by accepting Romania and Bulgaria had to be given unanimously, but there wasn't any such unanimity for the time being.

  • Leading Europe, held back by control mechanisms
After Bulgaria, Romania was the second EU member stat who found itself in the position to provide the presidency of the EU Council while being the subject of a Cooperation and Verifcation Mechanism (CVM), a key means of European control that justice reform is pursued in the country.

But Romania got lucky: the European Commission issued its CVM report, disastrous for the Romanian government, in November 2018 and it reached the EU Council in December, prior to Romania's taking over the presidency.

  • Top Romanian prosecutor courted by Europeans, undermined by Romanian officials
Constantly lauded by the European Commission, Romanian prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi was dismissed as head of Romania's main anti-graft body, the DNA, in 2018, at the pressure of then Justice minister Tudorel Toader. She by herself then joined the race to become the seat of top EU prosecutor.

Despite massive opposition from Toader and other institutions back home, she gained widespread support among EU institutions and officials, especially the European Parliament, while she reached a short list of preferred candidates, with Jean-Francois Bohnert (France) and Andres Ritter (Germany).

Other issues:

  • Sibiu Summit - In 2007, EC president Jean Claude Juncker called a summit of EU heads of states and governments to take place in Sibiu, Romania in May 2019. It was supposed to be a historical summit where decisions had to be made on the future of the EU after the exit of Britain. Brexit has yet to take place, so the summit was more of a symbolic one, which nonetheless allowed Romania to show itself as a European country with a pro-EU population.

  • European labor authority - In 2017, Romania demanded that the HQ of the European Medicines Agency be moved from London to Bucharest, a move which would have brought jobs and money to Romania. It failed, as the agency went to Amsterdam. In 2019, another EU body was a stake - the European labor authority. This one went to Bratislava. Romania did not even run for it.

As Copyright directive comes along, Romanian minister complains about Internet

A key European issue which has come to a conclusion during Romania's EU Council presidency was the Copyright directive, a major case with lots of interests - and money - at stake. One key Romanian official involved in the process was Culture minister Daniel Breaz, A man who, asked what he understood of social networks and the Internet, responded in the lines of:
  • We are in a world where the Internet - and I'm speaking sincerely - generates and manipulates youth or the young generations and leads them in other directions than the normal ones. Culture and identity have to regain their place. It's a pity we lose certain holidays, to lose our traditions. It's a pity to forget about our origins" (as quoted by Romanian news agency Agerpres on February 18).

This man had a say in issues with billions of dollars in investments from Internet giants on the line.


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