Currently on a visit in Bucharest, Estonian Deputy Minister for EU Affairs Matti Maasikas briefed his Romanian counterpart Victor Negrescu, members of the EU affairs committees of the Romanian Senate and Chamber of Deputies, and presidential advisor Leonard Orban on the developments thus far and future plans during the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU. As a little more than a year from now, in January 2019, Romania will assume the mantle of the Presidency, the Romanians are interested in all aspects of Estonia’s experiences, knowledge and lessons learnt as holders of the Presidency.
Brexit and the future of the European Union were also discussed at the meeting. The officials were unanimous regarding the need to preserve the EU’s unity and continue implementation of joint priorities, putting well-being and security of citizens at the forefront. Maasikas said a number of key issues are awaiting a solution, such as bringing migration flows under control and asylum policy, cyber security, shoring up defence cooperation, and the rights and responsibilities of posted workers. “These are issues that affect daily lives of all European and we must deal in earnest with them and find solutions to them jointly and together,” said Maasikas.
Maasikas had praise for the discussion and vote this Wednesday in European Parliament, where MEPs supported the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen zone. The European Commission recently also weighed in positively on the proposal. Maasikas said Estonia also supported these countries joining Schengen. “It will contribute to closer police cooperation and more effective border controls, which in turn will increase security for all of us,” said Maasikas.
Maasikas said the views of Estonia and Romania were similar on many topics, and they are close allies in both the EU and NATO. The countries jointly support achievement of more concrete results in the Eastern Partnership, stronger defence and security cooperation and development of transatlantic relations.
The officials also discussed EU enlargement and energy policy, migration and other currently salient foreign policy topics, and likewise bilateral Estonian-Romanian cooperation.
Together with Romanian Minister-Delegate for European Affairs Victor Negrescu, Minister of the Bulgarian EU Presidency Lilyana Pavlova and President of the European Forum Alpbach Franz Fischler, Deputy Minister Maasikas took part in the Aspen Institute Romania’s Bucharest Forum 2017 in the discussion on the future of Europe.
Bucharest Forum 2017: https://www.aspeninstitute.ro/evenimente/bucharest-forum-2017
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