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Romania PM to ask parliament to decide on EU summit reps

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(BUCHAREST) - Romanian left-wing Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Monday called on lawmakers to decide who will represent the country at European summits after a dispute between him and the centre-right president.

"I want to put an end without delay to this controversy, so I will ask parliament to call a meeting" ahead of the European Council scheduled for June 28, Ponta told reporters.

"MPs will be asked to give their representation mandate to the person they think is entitled to attend the EU meeting," he added.

A spat has broken out between the left-leaning government, in power since early May, and centre-right President Traian Basescu, who has never missed an EU summit since Romania joined the European bloc in 2007.

Ponta insists that he should represent Romania during some of the EU summits.

On Monday, he conceded Basescu's right to attend an informal EU summit on Wednesday but added ironically: "If Basescu goes to an informal dinner all he will do is eat and joke with his counterparts, because when it comes to economic questions he has neither perogatives nor parliament's or the government's support."

The issue of representation at EU summits had previously sparked controversy in France, with Socialist president François Mitterrand opposed to his centre-right prime minister Jacques Chirac, and later when Chirac himself turned president, to Socialist prime minister Lionel Jospin.

Chirac and Jospin nevertheless attended together several EU summits.

Poland was in a similar situation in 2009 when the late ultraconservative president Lech Kaczynski flew to Brussels despite an attempt by Liberal prime minister Donald Tusk to prevent him from attending an EU meeting.


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