From January 1, 2019 Romania will takeover the Presidency of the European Union from Austria to chair the bloc for upcoming six-month. During this 6-month period, the Romanian presidency will chair meetings at every level in the Council, helping to ensure the continuity of the EU’s work in the Council.
Earlier European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he doubted whether the Romanian government fully understands what it means to take the chairmanship of the Council of the European Union for six months.
In an interview with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Juncker said that despite being technically well-prepared the “Bucharest government has not fully understood what it means to chair the EU countries.”
“Prudent action requires a willingness to listen to others and a strong desire to put one’s own concerns to one side,“ Juncker explained, adding that he had doubts that this is the case with Romania.
In November, a European Commission report said that Bucharest had significant deficiencies in implementing the rule of law and defeating corruption.
“The developments over the last 12 months sadly have called into question and sometimes even reversed the progress made over the last 10 years,” Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans told reporters.
Juncker expressed concern that Romania’s political instability would not project an image of a united entity on the European stage.
“A united front is needed at home in order to promote the unity of Europe during the presidency of the Council,” the commission president told Welt am Sonntag.
Last month, Romania’s centrist president, Klaus Iohannis, admitted that his country was not ready assume the EU presidency.
“The Commission’s report and the European Parliament’s resolution address the same things,” he said. “They tell us Romania has gone back in time to before its 2007 EU accession.”