Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz: Symbolic handover of the Council presidency from Austria to Romania

Source: Austrian presidency of the EU (Austrian presidency) i, published on Friday, December 21 2018, 18:58.

Meeting with President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă i in Bucharest

On 21 December 2018 Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz i met with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă in Bucharest on the occasion of the symbolic handover of the EU i Council i presidency from Austria to Romania. The Federal Chancellor availed of the opportunity to underline the importance of democracy and Rule of Law: “Without them we would lack the basis for peace and freedom.” He thanked the Romanian head of state for “keeping an eye on Rule of Law and democracy in Romania in his role as president”. The Romanian president is also “widely recognised” and a “valued partner” in the European Union, said Sebastian Kurz, who presented Klaus Iohannis an EU pennant to symbolise the handover of the Council presidency.

Recognition of Austrian Presidency accomplishments

Klaus Iohannis assured that Romania is “well prepared” for its Council presidency in the first half of 2019. In front of media representatives Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă was also confident that Romania will have a successful presidency. Moreover, Klaus Iohannis praised the accomplishments achieved by the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU and promised that his country wishes to build on them and continue Austria’s efforts. Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz also highlighted the good relationship between the two countries: “Our countries have many common interests and traditionally work well together, for example regarding the Western Balkans, the Danube region and the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood.”

Focus on Brexit, financial framework and EU elections

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 i) as well as the elections to the European Parliament in May. The topic of migration will remain on the agenda. 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.

Photos from the visit to Romania are provided free of charge by the photographer services of the Federal Chancellery at http://fotoservice.bundeskanzleramt.at.