Press Room

Meeting in Washington of Minister Delegate for European Affairs George Ciamba with the Atlantic Council

Press release

On April 5, 2019, Minister for European Affairs George Ciamba met with members of the Atlantic Council think tank, an elite American organisation that promotes the strengthening of international relations in the transatlantic space, with the participation of renowned experts in the field of international relations. 

In the speech delivered at the headquarters of the Washington-based organisation, Minister George Ciamba referred to the efforts made by the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union to promote cohesion among Member States. The Romanian dignitary reminded of the organisation in Sibiu, ‪Romania of the informal summit of the heads of state and government of the EU member states on May 9, an auspicious moment for sending out a message of unity prior to the European elections.

George Ciamba added that the work agenda of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union is designed around re-affirming the value of cohesion. This value must be reflected in convergence, with a view to sustainable and equitable development for all citizens, in order to increase competitiveness and reduce development gaps. As a member state, Romania has taken concrete steps in this direction by doubling its Gross Domestic Product since the time of joining the EU. In this context, the Romanian minister for European affairs pointed out that EU’s future Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) is built around the Union’s Strategic Agenda, which is also focused on new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence. In advancing this dossier, the Romanian Presidency has achieved important results in promoting the MFF-related package of sectoral proposals.

The Romanian Presidency of the EU Council proved extremely effective and appreciated by all international bodies, Minister George Ciamba pointed out. The official continued his intervention emphasising that the six-month mandate runs between two legislative cycles and, even under these circumstances, 89 files were closed – some of them extremely sensitive, such as: The Gas Directive, the Copyright Directive, the establishment of the European Labour Authority (ELA), strengthening the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.

Minister George Ciamba informed the Atlantic Council that the Presidency of the Council of the EU is an opportunity for Romania to demonstrate its comparative advantages and its commitment to fundamental values. A clear objective is to reinforce efforts to combat racism, intolerance, xenophobia, populism, antisemitism and discourage hate speech. A concrete example is the organisation of high-level conferences, such as the one in Brussels in February, entitled “The Fight against antisemitism: a common approach to better protect Jewish communities in Europe – from policy to action", an event also supported by the American Jewish Committee and other major Jewish organisations. The event was organised under the patronage of the Prime Minister of Romania. 

George Ciamba brought up the importance of preserving the four freedoms of the European Union in a period defined by multiple challenges. The free movement of persons, goods, services and capital must not be called into question. 

The European Union has proved extremely united in addressing the complicated Brexit process. The agreement negotiated with the UK is the best possible solution for both sides in the current context, the minister stressed. George Ciamba reminded that there is still much confusion about the political decisions in London. In this volatile context, the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU has taken all necessary contingency measures to protect citizens and the business environment.

Another topic addressed during the Atlantic Council meeting was ensuring free and fair European elections, tackling disinformation and fake news, areas in which the General Affairs Council made a number of significant steps, said Minister George Ciamba. 

The Romanian official also referred to the process of EU enlargement, of integrating the Western Balkans, as a priority of the Romanian Presidency and as an investment in a stable and united Europe.

Finally, the Romanian minister expressed Romania’s commitment to promoting the strengthening of the transatlantic relationship and highlighted the importance of agreeing on a set of definitions for important phenomena, with the purpose of avoiding to deepen the gap between the EU and the US. The Three Seas Initiative is an excellent platform for promoting this valuable partnership that already has palpable results, such as the Partnership for Transatlantic Energy Cooperation (P-TEC), concluded the minister for European affairs.