Klaus Iohannis by U.S. Embassy Romania via Wikimedia Commons, source (CC BY 2.0)
Future of Europe
On 23rd October, Klaus Iohannis, President of Romania, addressed the European Parliament, being another member state leader to join the debate on the future of Europe. In his speech he stressed that what Europe needs the most are unity and cohesion, as well as adherence to the principles it was founded upon.
Values and unity
Iohannis believes a union “that leaves no member state behind” should be built, as it is the EU’s indivisibility and unitary character that make it a credible international player. “The idea of a multi-speed Europe or a union of concentric circles cannot offer a solution”, he stated, expressing hope that the west, the east, the south and the north can all be united through a sense of common identity based on shared values. “I feel proud to be a citizen in Romania and in equal measure a citizen of Europe, because national pride and European pride are not worn out concepts” – he admitted.
Recognising the multitude of problems the community was faced with in recent years, including the economic crisis, the migration crisis, the terrorist threat and the wave of populism, the Romanian President made an appeal not to let these difficulties lead Europe away from “the fundamental principles on which the European project has been built”, citing the rule of law and democracy as some of them.
“Democracy is not just given to us. It requires ongoing responsibility to care for it, protect it, and promote it”, he added.
Union for the citizens
Iohannis was confident that the Sibiu Summit to be held in May 2019, the first summit after the United Kingdom’s scheduled departure from the European Union, would be “a benchmark in planning a future involving a more powerful (..) and more democratic union”.
He highlighted that Europe cannot be built without “direct and active involvement” of its citizens, pointing to their desire to live in peace, security and prosperity that the European Union should satisfy. To meet these expectations, as Romanian President believes, a “more stable and more competitive” Eurozone should be created, the four freedoms must be maintained and social progress needs to be guaranteed.
Iohannis is convinced European leaders ought to be committed to prepare the citizens for the digital revolution by investing in education, research and innovation – “Europeans depend on how ambitious and how resolute Europe is” – he assured, reminding that modern technology sector is increasing its contribution towards the GDP of the Union and that “Economic security is just as important as border security”.