On January 1, Romania assumed the presidency of the European Union. Until June 30, Bucharest will be the center of many European events.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker commented on this in unusually directly with a statement expressing suspicion that Romania was ready for the role, Sarajevo-based Dnevni Avaz is reporting.
“They are technically well-prepared. But I believe that the authorities in Bucharest have not yet fully understood what the presidency of the Union means. In order to make informed decisions, you have to listen to others, but also be able to put some concerns there where they belong – to the end. When I take everything into consideration, I have some doubts about the ability of Romania to deal with this task,” Juncker Welt am Sontag.
This is the first EU presidency to go to a country that is still under the special regime of Brussels due to numerous shortcomings in the work of the government.
In particular, the Union keeps Romania under a heavy magnifying glass concerning the fight against corruption.
The citizens of this Balkan state, however, have replaced the magnifying glass with regular protests against the authorities, and inside the ruling coalition, the war inside the parties, and among them, is not subsiding.
As a reflection of this chaos, the EU minister resigned on October 11. All this has led to the EU presidency program, a document issued by each state before taking over the role, will not be available until at least January 15 in Romania’s case.
Dnevni Avaz writes that because of this, “we do not know what Bucharest will do in the next six months.”
“If we at least glance at the announcements made by Romanian officials thus far, the stories that the Balkans will be one of the top five priorities are just that – stories! There are no references in the previous announcements that confirm this. The exception a document taken over from Brussels stating that in the next six months the process of integrating the Western Balkans into the EU would continue, as this is a strategic interest of the Union itself. And nothing more,” the newspaper observed.
From bad to worse
“If the Austrian presidency has been disappointing for the six former Yugoslav states, the Romanian could be worse. Naturally, it is not realistic that anyone’s presidency could “push” our region into the EU or completely exclude it. Nevertheless, we (rightly) expected more from Bucharest, because we share the same region,” it continued.
After Romania, the presidency will be taken over Finland until the end of 2019. From January 1, 2020, it will go to Croatia, which immediately announced that it will organize a grand summit devoted to the Western Balkans during its mandate. The Union accepted it.
Romania will have a number of major challenges in the six months at the helm of the Union.
Brexit, the EU 2021-2027 budget that must be adopted by March, followed by elections for the European Parliament in May.
In the six-month period, at least one EU summit and a lot of ministerial meetings will have to be held, while all sorts of challenges must be handled daily – from the undeclared internet war of Russia toward the West to migrant waves…