PM Citu meets European Parliament's Sassoli on vaccination, economic recovery plan

Romania's Prime Minister Florin Citu met on Thursday in Brussels President of the European Parliament David Sassoli as part of a an official visit to European bodies, February 11-12, 2021, to discuss, among other things, the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination campaign in the EU and the European Economic Recovery Plan. According to a government press statement, the discussions provided an opportunity to exchange views on key issues on the European agenda, with focus on managing the COVID-19 pandemic Europewide, including the vaccination campaign, the European Economic Recovery Plan, the start of the Conference on the Future of Europe, as well as the EU External Agenda. The Romanian prime minister reaffirmed Romania's firm commitment to continuing acting in a spirit of deep attachment to the European design and values. "As part of the excellent cooperation with the European Parliament, he expressed the interest of the Romanian government in continuing their open and substantial dialogue, especially in the current European context marked by the pandemic, which requires increased involvement, unity and coordination on the part of the European institutions and EU member states. Prime Minister Florin Citu mentioned the expertise and involvement of Romania's MEPs in supporting the promotion of unity and cohesion inside the European Union," the release mentions. Citu also underlined the importance of close co-operation at European level in order to further manage the pandemic and its consequences, emphasising the importance of successful vaccination campaigns in the member states and the need to maintain the functioning of the internal market and the European free movement area. For his part, President of the European Parliament David Sassoli confirmed that only a coordinated approach at European level is likely to help the EU emerge from the crisis triggered by the pandemic. "Economically, the Romanian prime minister underscored the importance of the new financial instruments being implemented to ensure robust economic growth. He also welcomed the very recent approval by the European Parliament of the Recovery and Resilience Facility," according to the statement. At the same time, regarding the Conference on the Future of Europe, Citu highlighted the relevance of the process, especially amidst the ongoing pandemic and the lessons learned, in strengthening European crisis response instruments, and in strengthening democracy Europewide. "In his conversation with the president of the European Parliament, an expectation was highlighted that the debates at the forthcoming conference will contribute to the goal of a union closer to its citizens, ensuring the stability and prosperity they want, and to an in-depth dialogue on issues of direct interest to them," according to the release. At the same time, Citu thanked for the support of the European Parliament to Romania's accession to the Schengen area, with the president of the European Parliament reconfirming that Romania has all the support of the European Parliament. "Regarding the European Union's external relations, the Romanian prime minister highlighted the priority attached to the Republic of Moldova and the support for the management of the pandemic, as well as for the democratic and pro-European reform process. The prime minister underlined the importance of the EU support to the vaccination process in its immediate vicinity. The president of the European Parliament expressed his deep appreciation for Romania's support to the Republic of Moldova, including in the shape of a donation of up to 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine," the release also reads. Citu also had a series of meetings on Thursday with leaders of the European political groups in the European Parliament: Manfred Weber, leader of the EPP Group; Iratxe Garcia Prez, leader of the S&D Group; Dacian Ciolos, leader of the Renew Group, and EPP Secretary-General Antonio Lopez-Isturiz. "These discussions addressed current issues on Romania's European agenda: the vaccination campaign (Romania is currently ranked 4th in Europe) and the crucial importance of the coordinated effort at EU level by the European Commission, as well as the need for a mechanism to help the countries in the Eastern Neighbourhood obtain vaccines, the process of completing at national level the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the European Rule of Law Mechanism, which Romania supports, Romania's effort to meet the benchmarks under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM). Also tackled were Romania's commitment to meeting the recommendations of the European Commission as soon as possible, the presentation of the Euro-Atlantic Center for Resilience project, praised by the interlocutors, the process of Romania's accession to the Schengen area and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and other political issues of common interest," the release says. On Friday, the second day of his visit to Brussels, Citu is scheduled to meet President of the European Council Charles Michel; President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and Executive Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis. AGERPRES (RO - author: Daniel Florea, editor: Mihai Simionescu; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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