The first day of 2019 marked the beginning of the Romanian Council of the European Union Presidency, which will last for six months. In this period Romania will steer the Council during some major events for the Union – Brexit and the European Parliament elections.
Analysts predict that the Romanian EU Presidency is not likely to involve ground-breaking initiatives or striking political leadership, but it will be stable – which is crucial at this time. Their Presidency will face two biggest challenges yet – finalizing the Brexit deal in March and European Parliament elections in May while the populist parties are on a rise. But the Presidency also represents an opportunity to reaffirm European commitment and contribute to the evolution of the Union itself, in addition to organizing high-level (in)formal meetings and events. Indeed, Romania will find itself in the center of European decision-making, playing a particularly important role in leading efforts to develop and consolidate the European project.
The Romanian Presidency, under the Cohesion, a common European value motto, has four priorities – Europe of convergence, A safer Europe, Europe, a stronger global actor and Europe of common values. During its Presidency, Romania will hold 33 informal meetings (most of which will last two days) and one informal Summit of Heads of State and Government of EU Member States.
Why are the informal meetings so important? The main purpose of these meetings is to enable a joint consideration and a free exchange of views on a selected topic. There is no official agenda; the discussion is informal, there is a certain flexibility of attendance (all the relevant ministers, Commission and Council representatives as well as third-party representatives can be present) which makes them a perfect chance for the business sector to represent their ideas and contribute to opinion and the policy making process.
At this moment, Croatia is approaching the peak of its preparation for Croatia’s Council Presidency in January 2020, since our meetings and calendar agenda must be set by June 2019. If we do a good job and take all the opportunities given to us by this Presidency, it could be a turning point for Croatian tourism and economic development. It is in our best interest that Romania and Finland thrive, so we can inherit and bring to an end a very healthy and successful Presidency Trio, passing the baton to Germany.