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Brexit heads major challenges for EU's new Romanian presidency

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Brexit heads major challenges for EU's new Romanian presidency

Kurz - Dancila- Photo Romanian Government, Fotoservice des Bundeskanzleramtes

(VIENNA) - Major challenges of Brexit, the EU's future Budget and the upcoming European elections faced Romania on 1 January 2019 as it took over its first presidency of the European Union.

At a symbolic handover of the Council presidency from Austria to Romania, outgoing Council president Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz met with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Viorica Dancila in Bucharest.

It will be the first time that this Eastern European country, which became a member of the EU in 2007, takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The main topics of the coming 6 months are likely to be the future financial framework of the EU for 2021-2027, the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union (Brexit) as well as the elections to the European Parliament in May.

The topic of migration will remain on the agenda. Romanian president Klaus Iohannis spoke out in favour of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union on the basis of the withdrawal agreement made with the EU. He also advocated an early opening of negotiations on the future relationship.

Mr Iohannis assured that Romania is "well prepared" for its Council presidency, while Romania's Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said she was also confident that Romania will have a successful presidency.

Mrs Dancila said: "It is very important that we move from a protected Europe – the motto of the Austrian presidency- to a Europe in which cohesion is seen as a common value. We also need protection, protecting European citizens, but we also need a higher level of cohesion, a rapprochement in the development of regions, or between the eastern and western, southern and northern countries, between old and new EU Member States."

The priorities of the Romanian Presidency reflect what it says is a need for cohesion and have been assigned to four main pillars of action: (1) Europe of convergence: growth, cohesion, competitiveness, connectivity; (2) A safer Europe; (3) Europe as a stronger global actor; (4) Europe of common values.

Romanian EU presidency website

Provisional calendar of meetings under the Romanian Presidency

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