Romanian president: All member states should have a say in selecting the EU’s new leaders

"The distance between Brussels and the European citizens must be reduced"

Romania's President Klaus Iohannis speaks during a media conference at the conclusion of the symposium "The idea of Europe" in Kaunas, Lithuania, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Romanian Prime Minister Klaus Iohannis called on Wednesday in Bucharest for the European Union to improve its competitiveness, speed up decision-making in Brussels, strengthen the role of member states, and restore public confidence in the European institutions.

At a joint press conference following their meeting at the Romanian president’s office, both leaders praised the excellent economic and political relations between the two countries, the “soul” of which, according to the Romanian president, is the Romanian community living in Italy and the Italian community living in Romania.

The journalists’ questions, however, focused mainly on the European Parliament elections, which ended on June 9, and on the political negotiations on the distribution of leading European posts.

Klaus Iohannis deflected the answer to a question on his candidacy for NATO secretary general. He said that the situation would be discussed at a meeting of the Romanian Supreme Defense Council (CSAT) on Thursday, after which he would speak publicly on the issue.

The Romanian president, in turn, set out in detail his expectations for the new leadership of the European Union.

He said that the EU was created as an alliance of states and not political parties, and that although the party families in Brussels have an undeniable role in running the European Parliament, it is unacceptable that they should have more influence than the member states.

The Romanian president said that the distribution of senior posts in the European Union is a shared responsibility of the member states, and that “all member states should be involved in the process and no country should be excluded from the decision-making process.”

Iohannis said the EU is a great success and has a great future, but only if it responds to challenges in the right way — in a way that “counts” in a global context. However, according to him, this requires leaders of integrity, “closing the gap between Brussels and European citizens,” listening to their expectations and improving communication.

As an example of poor communication between EU citizens and Brussels, he said, farmers, fearful for their livelihoods and voicing their discontent with protests, faced the consequences this year of a decision taken by the EU in 2020, which they were not consulted on at the time.

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