On 27 August, Foreign Minister Maas took the opportunity to visit EU and NATO partner Romania for the first time since assuming office after being invited to speak at the Ambassadors Conference hosted by the Romanian Foreign Ministry. Afterwards he met Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and Foreign Minister Teodor Meleşcanu for political talks.
First EU Council Presidency for Romania in 2019
The hashtag #EuropeUnited was the motto for the entire visit. Romania, one of the two youngest EU members, will assume the EU Council Presidency for the first time in the first half of 2019. The departure of the United Kingdom from the EU will in all likelihood fall during this period of upheaval, as will the elections for the European Parliament. Furthermore, issues such as the amendment of the common European asylum law will continue to occupy the European community.
Against this backdrop, Maas, in his speech to the diplomatic corps and in political talks, called for a strong and sovereign Europe with shared values. Romania can count on Germany’s support for the preparation and implementation of the Council Presidency.
Speaking in Bucharest, Foreign Minister Maas said:
We face the same challenges in Berlin and Bucharest. We can no longer take anything for granted in foreign policy. We Europeans therefore need to assume more responsibility and work harder to promote our interests than we have done in the past: for a rules-based international order, a safe and stable neighbourhood and fair globalisation.
Close economic relations and exchange
Bilateral as well as European relations were on the agenda of the trip. Romania enjoys close economic relations with Germany. Germany is the Eastern European country’s number one trading partner, and German enterprises are among the largest private employers in Romania. Close historical ties exist, not least through the presence of the German minority in Romania, to which President Iohannis belongs. Another focus of the visit was how to intensify bilateral relations beyond the sphere of the economy.
With regard to the domestic situation in Romania, Maas called for the continuation of the reform process, determined steps to tackle corruption and peaceful dialogue between the various political groups in society. Germany needs Romania as a stable, reliable partner committed to our common European values.