Good morning! We will have today another very busy Foreign Affairs Council’ agenda and we will start with the meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee with Canada.
I think it’s a great opportunity to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the provisional application of the Strategic Partnership Agreement. The Declaration that we will adopt today will focus on the commitment of Canada to the security of Europe, which is very important, especially from the perspective of Romania, which benefited a lot from the Canadian troops’ presence for air policing in Romania. We hope that this partnership will continue. And this is another opportunity to celebrate the transatlantic partnership.
We will focus, of course, today, on Ukraine and the effects of the crisis generated by the attack of Russia against this European country. And we cannot avoid, of course, a discussion on the sixth package of sanctions. Romania is supportive of the package and of the solutions which were proposed and discussed by now. We hope that a solution will be reached and will bring all European Member States together, in support of the adoption of this package.
Of course, we will discuss about the other measures of support that the Member States have extended to Ukraine. I will present the support granted by Romania in the humanitarian field, because we are approaching 1.000.000 refugees who have crossed the Ukrainian-Romanian border, and the humanitarian dimension of our support is quite important.
I will also inform the colleagues about our effort to support the economy of Ukraine, by transiting the Ukrainian grain and other products through Romania, towards third destinations, by using the ports on the Danube – Galați, but also the Constanța Harbor at the Black Sea, which is the largest port in the Black Sea. Already, more than 120.000 tons of grain from Ukraine have left from Constanța to other destinations around the world. It’s very important to fight against the food crisis, which is very close at the horizon for many countries.
And then of course, we will discuss about Western Balkans, and this is a very important discussion as well, because we need, on one hand, to move forward with the start of the accession negotiations for Albania and the Republic of North Macedonia; on the other hand, we have to step up our engagement in political, but also in concrete forms for the countries in the Western Balkans.
Q: How will you convince your Hungarian colleague in order to vote in favor?
Bogdan Aurescu: Well, I’m not going to get into the details, because the negotiations are going on, but I’m looking forward to the debate today, in the Council, and to hear the arguments of our colleagues from Hungary and also to see what solutions can be found in order to make this adoption of the sixth package possible. I think we need it. We need it now.
Q: Minister, you will meet the Georgian colleague. What will be your main message? And you know that two or three countries are expecting a decision about their European perspective. Will you support this?
Bogdan Aurescu: Romania is one of the biggest supporters of the European and Euro-Atlantic perspective of Georgia and we have supported Georgia quite a lot, including during the preparation of the reply to the questionnaire of the Commission. And we think that the place of Georgia, as the place of Ukraine, and as the place of the Republic of Moldova, is within the European Union, because they belong to the European family.
Q: Do you think the organization should reach a consensus?
Bogdan Aurescu: Well, I think it’s important that the Opinions of the Commission be issued at the same time and also, of course, this would be the basis for the discussion for guidance within the European Council. I think granting the candidate status for all three countries – Ukraine, Republic of Moldova and Georgia – is important, because this is not the end of the process. It is just the start of a very important process and these countries need a roadmap for reforms. Of course, after that, it would be up to each country involved in this process to go on this path and to perform. And we are ready, Romania, to support this process. We think that these decisions are needed and the momentum should not be lost.
Q: Timetable for June?
Bogdan Aurescu: Well, I think it’s important, as I mentioned, to have a decision as soon as possible and, after that, it will be up to these countries to move forward on this very important journey and we will be there, together, by them, to support. Thank you so much.
Declarațiile în format video sunt disponibile aici: https://www.mae.ro/node/58658